Episode 424 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes



South Australia looks at driverless cars

South Australia wants to become the first state to pass rules that would allow driverless cars on its roads, possibly within years

“Our legislation also needs to modernised. It’s a patchwork of over 55 years of amendments and is often unwieldy, overly prescriptive and blind to new technologies,” government said

“Our review of the legislation will identify obstacles that prevent the introduction of self-driving and highly automated cares on SA roads, while also maintaining existing high levels of road user safety.”

He highlighted the potential for driverless vehicles to improve road safety, traffic congestion, and to give the elderly and disabled greater freedom to move around.

He forecast fully autonomous cars would be used across the world in “in a few short years”.

t in the mining sector, fleets of autonomous trucks have offered a safe and efficient alternative to risky driving scenarios.

Internationally, a number of US states, including California, have passed laws that allow driverless cars on their roads.

The UK government is also trialling the technology in a handful of sites, but only on closed roadways, with a review of the country’s Highway Code due to to be released soon.

Retina MacBook Air and final Apple Watch apps specs coming at the end of the month

Apple is expected to host a launch event for the MacBook Air Retina in Cupertino either later this month or the beginning of next, according to reports.

The event will take place either on 24 February or early March, depending on which rumour you want to believe, and will also feature the release of iOS 8.2 and the final launch of the Apple Watch.

iOS 8.2 will bring important fixes to Apple’s mobile OS. However, arguably the more important feature of iOS 8.2 is it will, apparently, support the final version of the Apple Watch.

In order to try and boost its presence again, Apple will apparently launch a 12in MacBook Air with Retina display and reversible USB Type-C port, which is significantly smaller than the USB 3. As well as allowing interoperability with upcoming devices from other manufacturers, this would also allow the new MacBook Air to be even thinner than it is now. (9to5 has some concept art here).

Inside, the MacBook Air with Retina Display, there will apparently be an Intel Broadwell Core-M processor, which could improve battery life both due to the chip’s efficiency and by allowing fanless operation. This would also help reduce the thickness of the machine.

rumour is there will be a limited release of the new MacBook Airs in multiple colours, as seen on the 1999-2000 iBook series, the predecessors to the MacBook.

Apple Watch pre-sale and iOS 8

Tim Cook confirmed in the latest Apple results call that the Apple Watch will go on sale this April, however the February/March event could see Cook reveal the final version of the smartwatch, with particular focus on how its apps work.

iOS 8.2 – which is expected to be fully compatible with Apple Watch – will apparently go live at the same time, with the watch itself becoming available to pre-order ahead of general availability in April.

Apple watch release date UK news

Victoria shamed as Australia’s software piracy hotspot

Victoria recorded the most number of software piracy settlements by businesses last year,

BSA The Software Alliance settled three-quarters of illegal software cases in 2014 with offending businesses in Victoria. The percentage is a dramatic increase from 2013, when Victoria was at 39 percent and was neck and neck with New South Wales, with 38 percent.

he BSA’s 12 settlements last year added up to an estimated $825,000 worth of software. All businesses in those cases were required to purchase authentic licences plus pay “copyright infringement damages”.

Almost one-third of settlements were with businesses in the architectural and design verticals, while engineering came second with 20 percent. Manufacturing, real estate, IT, recruitment and sales shared the “honours” evenly beyond that.

settlements between the BSA and Australian businesses, including a $100,000 case with a Victorian construction business, an instance of Autodesk piracy by a Queensland steel manufacturer, an Autodesk violation by a Perth engineering firm, and a $118,000 case with a Victorian architectural company.

Last week, in action taken independently of the BSA, three major vendors – Adobe, Autodesk and Corel – filed a lawsuit against fashion retail giant Forever 21, alleging  “widespread”, “wilful” and “repeated” piracy.

Image result for victoria piracy software

Apple, Google defend tax paid in Australia

Apple in Australia paid $80.3 million in tax last financial year, from revenues of $6 billion, thanks to a complex but legal tax structure which allows it to shift profits to an Irish subsidiary.

The bulk of [Apple]’s revenue is derived from the distribution of Apple finished goods to Australian businesses and ­consumers,” Apple wrote in a submission to a senate committee investigating corporate tax..

“[Apple] purchases those finished goods from its offshore affiliates at an arm’s length price, resulting in profits commensurate with the value of [Apple’s] activities in Australia.”

Google – which has previously been singled out by Treasurer Joe Hockey for its own revenue treatment – claimed it paid “billions” in local tax but declined to provide a figure.

It said its global average tax rate for 2014 was 19 percent, only slightly lower than the 25 percent OECD average.

The Australian Government relies heavily on corporate tax, which is the second largest source of federal revenue behind income tax.

In 2012-13, corporate tax revenue totalled $66.9 billion, representing 28 percent of the total $237 billion income tax revenue, according to the ATO.

Hacker takes over baby monitor, terrifies nanny

A US hacker took over the internet-connected device to say to the nanny, Ashley Stanley: “That’s a really poopy diaper.”

He then went on to warn Stanley to “password protect” her camera. The nanny told a local news station she thought it was the child’s parents

The baby monitor maker, Foscam, had a similar incident in April and now provides information on how to keep the monitors secure.

Topping the list is the need for parents to change the monitors’ default username and password. Newer devices require users to do so, but older versions might require a firmware upgrade.

Rapidshare to close following long decline

The decision comes after a period of decline for the site, which sacked three-quarters of its staff in 2013.

It adopted anti-piracy measures following criticism over allegations around copyright infringement and later scrapped its free service.

According to one expert, users had been abandoning the site ever since, meaning it was no longer a viable business.

The Switzerland-based site has warned users to secure their data and said that all accounts would be deleted on 31 March this year.

It was once ranked in the top three filesharing sites, along with Megavideo.com and Megaupload.com, which were estimated to have generated more than 21 billion visits between them.




Telstra H1 to cross $2bn mark

  • TELSTRA is expected to have made a profit of more than $2 billion in the six months to December

  • Analysts expect the country’s number one telco to reveal a $4bn-plus pile of cash when it reports to the market on Thursday

  • IG Market Strategist Evan Lucas believes Mr Thodey is keen to increase Telstra’s reach.  “David Thodey is now looking to grow the business, it’s a question about whether he starts to hold back some of the cash for advantageous acquisitions,” Mr Lucas said.

  • With around 15.6 million mobile customers, Telstra has little to no room left to grow in Australia, so it’s been looking for opportunities offshore.

  • The company dramatically increased its presence in Asia recently through the $US697 million acquisition of Pacnet, which owns the world’s largest submarine cable network.

  • Mr Lucas said shareholders should expect a higher dividend, probably by around one cent to 15.5 cents per share, according to current market consensus.

Better Call Saul’s successful launch on Stan takes away any pirating excuses

  • A Choice survey last year showed that most of those who pirated did so due to the inconvenience, price and delayed availability of getting the content legally.

  • Game of Thrones has been a constant problem for studios, with Australian’s pirating the show more than any other series. At first, the excuse was the delay, then when Foxtel fast-tracked it, the excuse became the price. Foxtel then dropped pricing just for Game of Thrones fans.

  • Stan’s launch of Better Call Saul last night offered the premiere for free (via a free 30 day trial, before it becomes $9.99 a month), in HD quality and via an easy to use service straight after it aired in the USA.

  • If you were interested in actually owning the show rather than streaming it, Aussie company EzyFlix is offering 10 episodes 24 hours after they air in the US for $10.

  • So there goes the excuse that you need to be able to watch it when you don’t have an internet connection.

  • With Australia’s barrage of streaming services launching locally this year and TV show rights being snapped up by them, more and more shows will be available easily, affordably and quickly in Australia.

  • If streaming isn’t your thing, services like EzyFlix offer quick, cheap alternatives to legally download and own shows. All ground will be covered.

Hackers steal millions of US health records

  • Anthem, the US’s second-biggest health insurer, said hackers broke into a database containing personal information for about 80 million of its customers and employees in what is likely to be the largest data breach disclosed by a healthcare company.

  • Investigators are still determining the extent of the incursion, which was discovered last week, and Anthem said it is likely that “tens of millions” of records were stolen.

  • The health insurer said the breach exposed names, birthdays, addresses and US social security numbers but doesn’t appear to involve medical information or financial details such as credit-card or bank-account numbers.

  • So far, it appears that the attack detected last week is the only breach of Anthem’s systems, and it isn’t yet clear how the hackers were able to obtain the identification information needed to access the database said Thomas Miller, the insurer’s chief information officer.

  • Anthem’s Mr Miller said the company wanted “to share the information as soon as possible.” Federal US law requires healthcare companies to inform consumers and regulators when they suffer a data breach involving personally identifiable information, but they have as many as 60 days after the discovery of an attack to report it.

  • Anthem’s Mr Miller said the first sign of the attack came in the middle of last week, when a systems administrator noticed that a database query was being run using his identifier code although he hadn’t initiated it. Anthem quickly determined that an attack had occurred, he said, informed the Federal Bureau of Investigation

  • Investigators tracked the hacked data to an outside web-storage service and were able to freeze it there, but it isn’t yet clear if the hackers were able to earlier remove it to another location, Mr Miller said.

  • A spokesman for the FBI said the agency is “aware of the Anthem intrusion and is investigating the matter” and praised the insurer for its “initial response in promptly notifying the FBI after observing suspicious network activity”.

The Apple Watch Will Bring Glucose Tracking To Your Wrist

  • With help from DexCom, a company that makes monitors for diabetics, the Apple Watch will be one of the first wearables to bring glucose tracking to your wrist. The Apple Watch itself will only act as a display for the information being pumped out every five minutes by DexCom’s continuous glucose monitor or CGM, a hair-thin sensor embedded under the skin.

  • Last summer Reuters reported that Samsung, Apple, and Google are all investigating how to incorporate glucose monitoring into wearables. The one hurdle being that any device marketed for diabetics would fall under the Food and Drug Administrations stringent regulations on Class III medical devices.

  • DexCom’s Apple Watch app can bypass the agency’s tortoise-speed approval process and be ready to go when the wearable ships in April, thanks to a rule change by the FDA.

  • So it seems the FDA’s relaxed regulations on diabetes software has given developers some room to work, and they’re taking advantage.

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