Episode 385 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Microsoft beefs up customer privacy policy

Microsoft Corp, under fire for accessing an employee’s private Hotmail account to prove he was leaking computer code to a blogger, has said it will now refer all suspicions of illegal activity on its email services to law enforcement.

 Effective immediately, if we receive information indicating that someone is using our services to traffic in stolen intellectual or physical property from Microsoft, we will not inspect a customer’s private content ourselves,” said head lawyer Brad Smith



Microsoft reveals Office for iPad




Satya Nadella has used his debut Microsoft press conference to unveil Office for iPad.


Like the company’s apps for iPhone, Word, Excel and PowerPoint will be free, but only Office 365 subscribers will have the facility to edit documents. The apps effectively become readers for those who don’t subscribe.


Microsoft says it has designed the apps from the ground-up for the iPad: they’re not a simple port of the iPhone apps.


All of the apps retain the Ribbon interface, although the number of tabs and features is reduced from the PC version of Office


Word for iPad includes facilities such as threaded comments and tracked changes, and allows users to edit charts and graphs embedded into documents. Photos can be dragged and dropped into new positions, with text automatically reflowing around the images


Excel, features such as Sparklines and suggested graphs are retained, and there’s a special numeric keyboard for entering data and equations.


PowerPoint has all the themes included in the PC version, and has features designed specifically for those making presentations from their iPad, such as a virtual laser pointer that the presenter can move by poking the screen.


The apps will be available for download now



.How tech firms are celebrating April Fool’s Day


DIY Apple repairs


Apple’s products have earned a reputation as hard-to-fix so it came as something of a surprise to learn that it had bought iFixit, the company dedicated to DIY repairs.


On iFixit’s website, it declared itself proud to have been acquired by Apple and said that it would “become a key player in the future of Apple device development”.




Google Pokemon


The company is offering Auto Awesome Photobombs for Google+, which allow users to upload an image of David Hasselhoff, described by the search giant as “everyone’s favourite crime-fighting rock star lifeguard” to their photos.


It has also claimed to have added emoji support for the Chrome browser on Android and iOS. The add-on will translate web pages into emoji icons to make them faster to read, it says.


Its most elaborate joke though is an update for Android and iPhone versions of Google Maps that lets users go around the world catching Pokemon.


The game is real but comes with a fictional job ad, offering the position of “Pokemon master” for those who could catch all 150 Pokemon.










First images of reversible USB cables emerge


USB cable that has always required users to plug it in “right side up” will soon get a welcome upgrade: a symmetrical plug similar to Apple’s Lightning connector.


A presentation by Intel this week showed the new USB Type-C cable specification, expected to be completed by July. The new spec will initially use existing USB SuperSpeed 3.1 and USB 2.0 technologies, according to the USB Implementers Forum.


The Type-C connector and cable will support scalable power charging in order to grow with future USB bus performance requirements. The first iteration will have a 5 volt power transfer rate, but that is expected to deliver up to 100 watts for higher power applications



Microsoft makes Windows free for some devices


Microsoft will give away licenses to Windows Phone and Windows to device makers building smartphones or tablets with screens smaller than 9-in. measured diagonally.


A “wow” factor of Microsoft’s unprecedented decision, characterizing it as a major milestone in the company’s 38-year history.


“It’s the day Microsoft finally capitulated to the changing market driven by the disruption led by Apple, Google and the smartphone ecosystem,” said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst at Moor Insights & Strategy, in an email interview.


Microsoft says “We want to get this platform out there,” Myerson told the audience, composed primarily of developers. “We want to remove all friction. To drive adoption of your applications, on phones and tablets less than 9-in., we are making Windows available for zero dollars.”



Windows XP, Office 2003 deadline looms


Microsoft has issued a reminder that security patches, software updates and technical support for Windows XP and Office 2003 ends next week on 8 April.


He added that there are good security reasons for moving away from XP. According to Microsoft’s Security Intelligence Report (Vol.15), XP Service Pack 3 has an 82.4 per cent malware infection rate.


According to Trend Micro’s smart protection network data released this week, 6.57 per cent of PCs in Australia and New Zealand are still running the OS.


According to Miller, there is an opportunity for hackers to make “significant financial gains” from a zero-day vulnerability that will never be patched.


“This vulnerability has the potential to build large scale botnets. Access to these compromised machines can be leased out for their processing power or network bandwidth for denial of service attacks.”





Microsoft talks Windows 8.1 Update 1 features, April 8 release, teases future Start menu


At Build 2014, Microsoft’s annual developer-focused conference, the company dished out some details about Windows 8.1 Update 1, the first significant Windows update since it became available back in October. Here’s a rundown of the changes that Windows 8.1 Update 1 will bring about once it’s released as a free update for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 users on April 8, which happens to be Microsoft’s next regularly scheduled Patch Tuesday.


Boot straight to the Desktop: Windows 8.1 Update 1 will allow users to boot and resume straight to the classic desktop UI, allowing them to bypass the tiled Modern UI altogether.


Changes to the Taskbar: With Windows 8.1 Update 1, you can use both desktop programs and Windows Store apps from the classic desktop UI. Windows Store apps will also work on the desktop UI’s Taskbar as well, and a new button on the Taskbar will permit you to access the Windows Store without forcing you to dive into the Modern UI to do so.


Microsoft also teased that in the future, a form of the classic Start menu will make a return, and have Modern UI-style Live Tiles embedded within it. Apps will be able to run in Windowed mode as well. The Start menu will function similarly to how it did prior to its elimination when Windows 8 launched, permitting users to find and run programs and apps through it. However, it sounds like those features will be added to the OS as part of a future update, and not Windows 8.1 Update 1 when it hits next week.

Forget it, Australia: No Amazon Fire TV for youamazon-fire-tv


Global content Amazon giant overnight unveiled Fire TV, an Apple TV-like set-top device which is designed to stream movies, TV shows to consumers’ televisions, as well as providing video game functionality. However, as with many of Amazon’s product launches in the past, there appear to be no immediate plans to ship the device to Australia.


As it currently stands, Australians are unable to order the device through Amazon’s US site, with the site delivering the following message to those who try to order it: “Important message: There is a slight problem with your order. We’re sorry. This item can’t be shipped to your selected destination. You may either change the shipping address or delete the item from your order.” Amazon made no mention of Australian availability during its launch of the Fire TV overnight in the US, and the unit is not listed on the company’s Australian web store.

Apple to raise app prices by up to 30 per centGoing up: currency fluctuations are flowing through to the App Store.


The price of apps on Apple’s App Store rose by up to 30 per cent in Australia from last Wednesday afternoon.


A price increase was foreshadowed by Fairfax Media on Tuesday, and has been followed up with the release of updated pricing tables to Apple software developers who provided Fairfax with the details before Apple began rolling it out on Wednesday evening. On Tuesday Apple did not say what the increase would be.


Apps now costing 99 cents will cost consumers $1.29 after the change is implemented.


Increases will apply to Mac, iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch apps and were changed to take into account foreign exchange rates over the past year, according to a message sent to software developers by Apple.


The change comes after a year of currency fluctuations. As of 5.58pm on Wednesday, the Australian dollar was fetching 92 US cents.


How Gmail Happened: The Inside Story of Its Launch 10 Years AgoGmail in 2004


Google’s email breakthrough was almost three years in the making. But it wasn’t a given that it would reach the public at all


If you wanted to pick a single date to mark the beginning of the modern era of the web, you could do a lot worse than choosing Thursday, April 1, 2004, the day Gmail launched.


Scuttlebutt that Google was about to offer a free email service had leaked out the day before: Here’s John Markoff of the New York Timesreporting on it at the time. But the idea of the search kingpin doing email was still startling, and the alleged storage capacity of 1GB—500 times what Microsoft’s Hotmail offered—seemed downright implausible. So when Google issueda press release date-stamped April 1, an awful lot of people briefly took it to be a really good hoax.


Gmail turned out to be real, and revolutionary. And a decade’s worth of perspective only makes it look more momentous.


The first true landmark service to emerge from Google since its search engine debuted in 1998, Gmail didn’t just blow away Hotmail and Yahoo Mail, the dominant free webmail services of the day. With its vast storage, zippy interface, instant search and other advanced features, it may have been the first major cloud-based app that was capable of replacing conventional PC software, not just complementing it.


Gmail ended up running on three hundred old Pentium III computers nobody else at Google wanted. That was sufficient for the limited beta rollout the company planned, which involved giving accounts to a thousand outsiders, allowing them to invite a couple of friends apiece, and growing slowly from there.




Yahoo Is Considering Creating Its Own YouTube (And Poaching YouTube Stars).

Google-owned YouTube hasn’t had a serious competitor for years. But Yahoo would like to try: The Web giant has been working on a plan to lure some of YouTube’s most popular stars and networks to show their stuff on the site, according to several sources close to the situation.


The strategy in the works — which Yahoo hopes to launch in the next few months — is aimed at taking advantage of persistent complaints by both video creators and owners, who think that they don’t make enough money on YouTube.


Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer has been mulling how to have a much bigger presence in Web video. Under her leadership, the company tried and failed to buy France’s DailyMotion and has been pushing a number of other high-profile media initiatives, such as adding television news star Katie Couric to its site.


But creating an online video service is a much bigger deal and is not just conceptual — several industry sources say Yahoo has recently been approaching individual YouTube stars and some of the big networks now on the giant online video service.


The come-on? Yahoo executives have told video makers and owners that the company can offer them better economics than they’re getting on YouTube, either by improving the ad revenue or by offering guaranteed ad rates for their videos.


In addition, Yahoo has offered extensive marketing, even on its home page, as well as allowing video producers the ability to sell advertising along with Yahoo’s sales force.


Meanwhile, investors are showing renewed interest in YouTube-related businesses, sparked byDisney’s $500 million acquisition of Maker Studios, a YouTube network with 5.5 billion monthly views.




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