Episode 439 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Warning: Text message bug crashing iPhones around the world                                                                                 

Today news is flying around regardingan iOS bug that causes the Messages app to crash and iPhones to reboot when a certain string of text is received. There isn’t an official fix from Apple yet, but there are a few workarounds and fixes that you can do in the meantime before Apple patches the bug.

Here are a few fixes that users have discovered and sent in:

  • —Have the person who sent you the malicious message send another message effectively canceling out the initial strand

  • —Alternatively, send yourself a message via Siri, the share sheet, or from your Mac.

  • —Another reader notes that “sending a photo to the contact via the Photos app can allow them to access the message history and delete the conversation”

These fixes should do the trick while we await an official fix from Apple in an upcoming software update. An Apple spokesperson already confirmed it’s working on a fix that will deploy in a future update:

“We are aware of an iMessage issue caused by a specific series of unicode characters and we will make a fix available in a software update.”


Woolworths becomes wholesale Telstra 3G supplier

Woolworths will use Telstra’s 850MHz and 2100MHz spectrum

Woolworths has signed up for Telstra’s pre-paid and post-paid mobile solution, which offers resellers their own branded pre-paid, post-paid and wireless broadband offerings, real-time account management with live notifications for customers, and Telstra wholesale post-sale support.

Telstra’s wholesale offering spans 7000 3G 850MHz sites covering 1.3 million square kilometres of Australia.

The new Telstra partnership will only initially apply to the telco’s 3G network.

A Telstra spokesperson told iTnews Woolworths would be free to take up wholesale services on the 4G network when it becomes available next year


Telstra debuts in top 100 global brands

Coming in at number 82, Telstra’s brand name was estimated by BrandZ to be worth $12.7 billion.

Other Australian companies include Commonwealth Bank at number 48 with $20.5 billion, ANZ Bank in 59th place with $17.7 billion, Westpac at number 84 with $12.4 billion and Woolworths coming in 87th with $11.8 billion.

Telecom providers had a large presence on the list, accounting for 12 of the top 100. The biggest brands were US telcos AT&T and Verizon, coming in at 6 and 7 respectively.

The number one most valuable brand of 2015 went to Apple, who regained the top spot from Google with a brand value of $246 billion.


Microsoft Cortana comes to Android and iOS

The new Cortana apps for Android and iPhone will work as a companion to Cortana on Windows 10, and everything stored in Cortana’s notebook will be made available across all devices.

This comes alongside news that Windows 10 will feature a Phone Companion app that allows you to sync files and content on your PC with Windows, Android and Apple phones.

With the OneDrive app set up on your phone, every picture you take will automatically show up on your Windows 10 PC. The updated Music app will similarly allow you to store and access music on OneDrive on your phone for free.

Read more: http://www.pcpro.co.uk/microsoft/1000826/windows-10-to-feature-integrated-apps-for-android-and-ios#ixzz3bQ8OX8rO

There will be a number of differences between Cortana on a Windows phone and the Cortana app. The Cortana app won’t be able to access system settings on Android and iOS, and you won’t be able to summon the assistant by saying “Hey Cortana”


Nokia Australia legally renamed ‘Microsoft Mobile’

Nokia Australia is no more, with the local subsidiary of the mobile phone maker changing the name registered with

ASIC to “Microsoft Mobile Australia”.

Microsoft has been chipping away at the Nokia name, including renaming its handset range “Microsoft Lumia”.


Microsoft’s $55 billion offer for Salesforce was rejected

Microsoft offered US$55 billion to acquire Salesforce earlier this year, but that wasn’t enough to get Salesforce Founder and CEO Marc Benioff to agree to a deal

CNBC, citing anonymous sources familiar with the talks, reported that Benioff wanted US$70 billion for Salesforce, which currently has a market capitalisation just above US$49 billion.

According to CNBC, Microsoft’s bid would have allowed Benioff to convert his 5.7 percent stake in Salesforce into Microsoft stock, and Benioff would have assumed a management role at Microsoft. Others shareholders would have gotten cash for their Salesforce stock.


Kogan launches $349 Windows laptop

Online reseller Kogan has launched its second own-branded Windows 8.1 notebook priced at $349.

The device comes with a 14-inch 1920×1080 screen, 500GB hard drive, Intel Pentium N3540 processor and 2GB DDR3L ram, with the option of a 4GB upgrade for an extra $10.

Kogan also boasts a 9.5-hour battery life and a three times faster wi-fi connection.


AdBlock Plus secures another court victory in Germany

AdBlock Plus has successfully defended itself in court for the second time in five weeks.

The service prevents ads from appearing on websites unless it has given them permission to be displayed.

German broadcasters RTL and ProSiebenSat.1 had argued that browser plug-in was anti-competitive and threatened their ability to offer users content for “free”.

However, a court in Munich ruled in favour of AdBlock’s owner Eyeo.

“This is the fourth time that massive publishers have brought legal proceedings against our start-up,” Ben Williams, a spokesman for the German company

Adblock Plus is not the only tool threatening the business model of sites that provide free content to users from advertisers

Mozilla is also promoting the optional Tracking Protection feature for its Firefox browser, which stops many internet cookies from being downloaded.

This limits the ability of affected sites to show personalised adverts, which are worth more money to them.

Earlier this week, one of the organisation’s former employees published a paper suggesting that use of the tool sped up page load times by about 44%. She called on the organisation to switch the setting on by default.

AdBlock Plus


Google Play revamps its Android apps’ age ratings

The Android store will abandon the low/medium/high maturity classifications it has used until now and switch to a system run by an outside body.

Google says it wants to reassure parents that apps are properly labelled by bringing in the experts rather than relying on developers to self-certify their products, as had been the case until now.

Instead of a centralised office issuing a single global age rating for each app the International Age Rating Coalition

International Age Rating Coalition was founded two years ago, but its members have been in the age classification business for decades.

The bodies involved are:

  • The Australian Classification Board

  • Classifcacao Indicativa, which covers Brazil

  • The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), which looks after North America

  • Pan European Game Information (Pegi), which is used by the UK and 29 other European countries

  • Unterhaltungssoftware Selbstkontrolle, which is specific to Germany

The ratings system appears to be complex – more reading can be gathered from the show notes link if required.

ESRB icons


#CharlieCharlieChallenge: Why people are trying to talk to demons

The #CharlieCharlieChallenge involves putting two pencils on a piece of paper marked with “yes” and “no” and asking Charlie, “Are you there?”

The top pencil is supposed to be spun by Charlie, if he is successfully summoned.

While some people seem to genuinely believe in Charlie’s existence, others suggest that the pencil spins because someone in the room is blowing on it.

Others warn that the demon “may seem friendly at first” but he could also have “sinister plans”.

Apparently you must also ask to “stop” the summoning politely or you risk “leaving a portal open for demons to come in and out of your house as they please”.

Two pencils on a piece of paper

iPhone 4S users rejoice: Apple iOS 9 to be optimized for older devices

In theory, the release of a new OS version from Apple is supposed to be a reason to cheer, but if you own anything but the latest hardware, that’s rarely been the case. The Cupertino-based smartphone manufacturer has released multiple OS updates (iOS 4, iOS 7, and iOS 8, specifically) that were significantly slower than theoperating systems they replaced. While this issue has always been most acute on older hardware, Apple’s update policies are designed to make falling back to an earlieroperating system difficult, if not impossible. We’ve already covered reports that iOS 9 will focus on fixing bugs and improving performance rather than relentlessly launching new features, and a new report extends that focus by claiming that the OS will be optimized for older devices like the iPhone 4S.

Before iOS 9, Apple’s apparent development model was to build the OS on the latest hardware versions, remove a handful of features that couldn’t run well on older products, and call the whole thing done. The new approach is tailored to creating operating system variants that are actually tailored to older products and will enable new features only after testing and optimizing them for older hardware.

It’s a misconception that OS developmenthas to be a zero-sum game, in which older hardware can only be supported if newer hardware is left on the table. To be sure, this can occur in certain cases: Trying to carry the entire spectrum of Windows XP compatibility and security bug fixes fordevices more than ten years old was undoubtedly a headache forMicrosoft. But it doesn’t really reflect the reality of the iOS world, where Apple has just a handful of products to support, and even the slowest offer dual-core processors, a specific and known amount of RAM, and well-understood hardware and software capabilities.

While the iPhone 4S is a bit long in the tooth, news of better support for that platform should also pay dividends for the iPhone 5 and 5c, which are significantly newer. I’ve avoided iOS 8 due to the general loss of performance in launching applications and UI changes — I’m hoping iOS 9 can at least match iOS 7 on my iPhone 5c.

The new OS,which 9to5Mac reports is codenamed Gala, is also expected to adopt Apple’s new San Francisco typeface, offer split-screen app views on the iMac, and add mass transit directions to Apple Maps. Apple is also reportedly adding a “feature” called Rootless, which is expected to prevent even administrative-level users from accessing certain protected files. This could be a platform-wide adoption of trusted execution hardware-enforcedsecurity or a further evolution ofsoftware efforts, but locking certain files out from even an administrator account could be problematic forjailbreakers. Apple is also reportedly stepping up its efforts to push iCloud and will use that system as a backend for more applications and content syncing.Major updates to Swiftand features like “secure WiFi” are all on the menu — check 9to5’s full report for further details.


Apple might be changing its iPhone font but will you notice?

Apple is rumoured to be ditching the type of text many of us see every day on its mobile, tablet and Mac screens.

For the last few years iPhone users have been tapping out messages and notes in Helvetica Neue.

But it’s expected users will soon be seeing a new font called San Francisco, which the firm created for the Apple Watch.

It’s thought the switch will be confirmed at Apple’s developer conference in June.


Helvetica Neue versus San Francisco

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