Episode 404 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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GLENN’S SHOWNOTES 

Samsung unveils Galaxy Note 4

The new Galaxy Note 4 features a crisper, 5.7-inch display in a metal frame, reflecting Samsung’s latest design strategy to keep pace with rivals including Apple, which is expected to launch its first large-screen phones next week.

The new model offers accessories designed to attract gamers and an improved pen stylus and related software as a handwriting alternative to typing on a keyboard. It boasts easier to use multi-tasking features that take advantage of its large screen.

 

While the new Note device appears to meet expectations on key features such as the quad high-definition display and a 16-megapixel rear-facing camera, the improvements are incremental and suggest further struggles ahead for Samsung to differentiate its product, especially with large-screen iPhones on the way.

“It is an acknowledgement that Samsung took a wrong turn with the move into plastic cases and that its designs didn’t move fast enough to keep pace with many competitors,” said Ben Wood, a mobile industry analyst with UK-based CCS Insight.

“The importance of metal cases is that it directly translates into bigger, edge-to-edge screens,” he said.


Apple sets big date for 9 September

Apple invited media to a “special event” in its hometown of Cupertino, California, on 9 September

 

Apple’s typically cryptic invitation read: “Wish we could say more.” It came on a simple black-and-white background dominated by the company’s familiar corporate logo.

 

Beyond the hardware, the next generation of gadgets will incorporate new software features such as HomeKit, which will help manage connected devices within the home, and HealthKit, a central repository of health data and services.


Time for iPhone 6? What to expect from Apple’s big event next week

 

The iPhone 5 display measures out to 4.1 inches. The iPhone 6 is expected to come in two different models — one measuring out to 4.7 inches and the other to 5.5 inches.

 

According to the online rumor mill, the new iPhone’s display will be made of sapphire glass, but it isn’t known whether that will come to fruition. Could Apple, indeed, include sapphire on all its devices? Will it be an added perk users can upgrade to? Will sapphire only be included on certain models?

 

Definitive processor speed won’t be known until the launch event, but partners are buying into the expectations of the iPhone running on an A8 chip in addition to 1GB of RAM, and anywhere up to 128 GB of flash storage.

It is possible that the two expected models of the iPhone 6 will be different in ways other than just size. The processors are expected to be the same, but specifics of the battery life, storage space and RAM may be different.

 

Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Apple plans to partner with Visa, MasterCard and American Express to turn the iPhone 6 into a digital wallet for users. The phone would use Near Field Communication technology to pay for items in stores, according to the report.

 

If the iWatch is teased or even announced, partners don’t expect it to be released until early next year, but US partners still say it doesn’t need the holiday season to “sell like hotcakes.”

 

What is Saphire Glass?

Currently, the front cover on the iPhone 5S is made of Gorilla Glass, a thin, durable material made of alkalialuminosilicate by U.S. glassmaker Corning Inc. However, two of its most precious parts are already encased in sapphire glass: its 8-megapixel camera and the Home button’s Touch ID fingerprint sensor.

 

According to Neil Alfred—a professor of physical electronics and thin film materials at the Imperial College in London  “There are some minor impurities in sapphire that make it go blue,”

Sapphire crystal, which is artificially made, is actually purer than a piece of sapphire that you would get in your ring.”

Sapphire glass, however, is a synthetic form of that compound, and is named for its transparency, not its consistency. It’s incredibly clear, even for wavelengths of light that are way out of the threshold of what normal humans can see. It’s also pretty impossible to scratch


Unofficial Windows XP service pack released

a developer known only as “Harkaz” has been quietly working away on creating an “Unofficial Service Pack 4” since September 2013 and it’s finally available to download.

Unofficial SP4 rolls together all updates since 2002’s SP1 for Windows XP, including twofixes issued after the official end of support.

Harkaz said they had decided to create unofficial SP4 for the “many users – including me – who won’t be able to upgrade their old machines to a newer OS [and] would like to easily install all Windows updates in one convenient package” following the end of XP support.

http://www.softpedia.com/get/Others/Signatures-Updates/Windows-XP-SP4-Unofficial.shtml

 


Hockey calls on Tax Office to target ‘Australia Tax’

 

Treasurer Joe Hockey has promised to direct the Tax Office to target multinational businesses who charge Australians more for technology and ship the profits offshore to avoid tax.

In a pre-G20 speech this week, Hockey outlined the ways the Government plans to tighten up Australia’s tax structure – particularly highlighting the higher prices paid by Australians for technology hardware and software.

 

He said he had asked the Commissioner of Taxation to “look at these price differences to ensure that profits earned in Australia are taxed in Australia”.

“In such cases, Australia’s transfer pricing rules could apply to determine whether the appropriate amount of profit from Australian sales was booked to Australian operations,” Hockey said.

“You should pay tax in the country where you’ve earned a profit. That’s not just an essential tax principle, it is rational and fair.”

 

Former Assistant Treasurer David Bradbury specifically singled out Google and Apple as users of the so-called “double dutch Irish sandwich” method in late 2012.

Hockey did not point the finger at a particular company but called it “patently unfair” that multinational businesses can get away with using these sophisticated loopholes.

“This is unfair on the Australian taxpayer and unfair on local businesses that are doing the right thing,” he said.


 

Apple washes hands of celebrity iCloud hack

Apple has denied that its own systems are to blame for the compromise of celebrities’ iCloud storage accounts that saw their intimate pictures being posted across internet forums.

The company claims that the celebrities’ privacy was breached as a result of targeted attacks that aimed to discover celebrities’ log in details, Apple said

 

Apple said it is working with police to investigate the breach, which resulted in images being uploaded to the 4Chan webforum in return for payment in Bitcoin.

Yesterday, one of the victims of the iCloud breach, actress Jennifer Lawrence, toldReuters that she had contacted authorities over photos stolen from her iCloud account.

A spokesperson for Lawrence said the data breach was a flagrant violation of privacy and warned that anyone who posts images of the actress will be prosecuted by the authorities.

 


Free pies at the MCG to tempt fans over to iBeacon

 

The trial, which begins today, will equip a number of the MCG’s roving pie sellers, known as pie boys, with iBeacons that trigger location-specific messages via Bluetooth technology to patrons’ phones within the stadium.

MCG patrons who have downloaded a pass to Apple Passbook or Android Wallet will be notified a pie seller carrying an iBeacon is nearby – without having to take their eyes off the pitch.

iBeacons are small, inexpensive transmitters using Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology to emit a signal that is recognised by the app, which then notifies the proximity of the vendor and any special deals they are offering.

For example, anyone who downloads the pass will go in a draw to win a year’s supply of Four’n’Twenty pies while footy fans who present their notification message to selected pie boys will receive a free pie on the spot, subject to stock availability.  

The trial will take place alongside improved in-stadium wi-fi and better 3G and 4G connectivity.


Turns out the Queen is not a fan of the royal selfie

Fuji Xerox printer ‘comes to your desk’ with documents

Fuji Xerox has developed a new robotic printer that can move around a lounge or office to bring documents to the person who printed them.

The printer is designed to be used primarily in public places as a way to keep sensitive documents secure.

Sensors on the machine prevent it from bumping into people on the way.


 

JASON’S SHOWNOTES

Foxtel is stepping up its battle for subscribers by slashing the cost of a basic cable package by half to $25 and launching a new on-demand BoxSets channel for pay TV and digital users.

The announcement came as part of a revamp of Foxtel’s cable and satellite subscription pricing in what could be seen as a preemptive move before US giant Netflix, which is rumoured to be eyeing Australia, enters the local market.

“We recognise that many Australians feel that Foxtel is too expensive to fit comfortably into their budget,” Foxtel chief executive Richard Freudenstein said.

“They know that we offer fantastic content but they just don’t feel they can stretch their finances to afford it,” he said.

The newly created $25 per month entry point entertainment pack includes 40 channels, such as MTV, National Geographic TCM and Universal. Previously, the entry level package cost $50 per month.

The BoxSets channel will be available for an additional $10 on top of the newly announced $25 entertainment pack.

“Bingeing on television is hugely popular and we know that this service will be a smash hit,” Mr Fredenstein said at a subscription TV industry conference on Thursday.

Subscribers will be able to view complete series of television shows on demand, including popular series Game of Thrones, The Newsroom, Entourage and The Sopranos.

BoxSets will be available through its mobile service Foxtel Go and through its internet-connected iQ personal video recorder boxes. At this point in time, it has not been announced for online only package Foxtel Play.

Telstra has backed a proposal to block websites that host pirated movies and music and called for new measures that would help content owners sue internet users who continue to download them.

The calls came in Telstra’s submission to the Online Copyright Infringement consultation being led by Attorney-General George Brandis. It echoed comments made last month by chief executive David Thodey that piracy could not be justified on any basis.

“Australian courts should be given a power to grant an injunction to block access to overseas websites determined by the court to be facilitating online copyright infringement,” Telstra said. “Such a mechanism would directly target the source of copyright infringing content.

“In addition to the court-based website blocking, we propose an education notice scheme for consumers who are identified via their IP addresses as downloading content without the rights holder’s permission.”

Customers who continue to download copyright content would be pinged as “repeat infringers”. This would, in turn, allow movie and music studios to track down and sue users through “a streamlined judicial process”.

Telstra said internet service providers should not be held accountable and added its customer’s rights and privacy should be protected. But it also said all telecommunications companies should be forced to take part in any scheme that was created.

 

Impressing a journalist who has seen almost every gadget released in the past 10 years is hard. Samsung’s new virtual reality heads-up display, however, is on another level entirely.

The childlike wonder we felt when using the Gear VR for the first time was unprecedented, making us think it could well be the most exciting consumer electronics product Samsung has released.

Launched at the Samsung Unpacked 2014 event in Berlin, the Gear VR works as an accessory to the Galaxy Note 4. The latter is slotted into a cavity at the front of the headset, and its 5.7-inch screen is used to display the 360-degree visuals.

Pressed against your eyes, it’s the equivalent of standing two metres away from a 175-inch screen, with the headset producing a stereoscopic 3D effect that’s surprisingly authentic.

If it sounds like an Oculus Rift rip-off, that’s because Samsung worked with the Facebook-owned Oculus team to create the Gear VR over 12 months. It uses the same 360-degree head-tracking that lets you look around a game or video clip like you would in real life but, unlike the Oculus Rift, it’s completely mobile, so you can use it without being tethered by a cord.

However, we wouldn’t advise using the Gear VR in anything other than a stationary position. The experience is so wholly immersive it’s easy to get completely lost in the virtual reality display – and this may mean you miss hazards in front of you such as coffee tables or walls.

Australian Apple devotees are willing to pay a $100 premium to get the latest iPhone before anyone else.

Classified ads have appeared on online jobs marketplace Airtasker seeking the services of dedicated queuers to wait in line outside Apple’s flagship Sydney store on the release date of the iPhone 6.

Two near-identical ads say they “require someone to queue up from 3:30am on the morning of the launch day (to be determined after Apple’s announcement next week) to obtain 2 iPhone 6 [sic] and physically deliver it to a office [sic] address in the city”.

One user, “Bhim C”, is prepared to pay $100 for the task via PayPal, while the other, “Daniel P”, will pay the same amount in cash.

The latest iteration of Apple’s flagship smartphone is widely expected to be unveiledat an Apple event on September 9, with the actual release date 10 days later, on September 19.

People are already queuing up outside Apple’s flagship store in New York City. Brazilian publicaton Veja reported some people were charging $US1250 ($1337) for a place in the queue in New York.

One of the Australian task posters, based in Hong Kong and whose real name is Jon, is aiming to be the first person in the world to nab an iPhone 6.

Australian buyers get first dibs because of the local time zone, which is several hours ahead of the US and other parts of the world.

 

 

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