Episode 443 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Final Office for Android

Android device users can now access the final release of Microsoft’s Office productivity suite, with Word, Excel and PowerPoint made available for download.

Kirk Koenigsbauer, who heads up Microsoft’s Office client, applications and services team said the Android apps were tested on 1900 phone models in 83 countries during the limited preview that opened in November last year.

Android version 4.4 ‘Kitkat’ or newer is required to run the Office apps, and devices must have either an ARM architecture or Intel processor

Apart from Google’s Play app store, the Office for Android Apps are also available from Samsung’s Galaxy Store worldwide

Telstra to end dial-up internet

Telstra will retire its dial-up internet plans and migrate the last of its remaining customers by December this year.

it would take at least 6 hours to download a 150MB video.

“In contrast, at typical speeds over ADSL2+ it would take around 2 minutes

the move only applied to consumer and wholesale accounts, not business or enterprise customers.

While there are still business accounts that use dial-up access as a fall-back, that number has fallen to “around 10”, according to the spokesperson

But due to contractual obligations, these services will continue to be active after consumer services end, and will be switched over to alternatives over a longer timeframe.

TPG stopped selling its dial-up internet plans at the start of this year.

Rival telco Optus told iTnews it had made no decisions about the closure of its dial-up internet services.

iOS 9 update can automatically delete apps

Previous iOS installers, including that of the initial iOS 9 beta, required additional space temporarily in order to unpack files before installation. This meant that users with limited storage space – had to delete applications to create room for the new update. Apple has now made this process much easier with a new feature known as “App Deletion”.

App Deletion offers those with limited space the option to automatically delete, and then later reinstall, apps. This process deletes enough to free up the required space for the iOS 9 installation.

App Thinning is another space-saving addition available to developers in beta 2. This feature allows developers to create smaller versions of apps for older iOS devices to make use of, by stripping out features they don’t need. For example, an iPhone 4s user won’t need Touch ID features, and only iPhone 6 and 6 Plus owners will be able to utilise NFC and Apple Pay integration.

The second beta also brings with it a new Notes app, new features for Apple Maps, and some minor UI changes, including a return of the Continuity feature for app switching. A few other small tweaks include new Undo/Redo buttons on the iPad keyboard, the Apple Watch app being renamed to Watch, a redesigned Podcasts app icon, and general bug fixes.

With the public beta for iOS 9 set to arrive in July, it’s likely this is the last update we will see solely for developers.

Presently, a valid conceptual idea eagerly awaits bringing out new exciting features in iOS 9 distributed, showing vital peculiarities of the new OS rendition.


Australia passes law to block overseas piracy sites

The Australian Senate this week voted through legislation which allows rights holders to apply to a court to block overseas websites facilitating copyright infringment.

The legislation passed despite strong opposition from the Australian Greens and a number of independent and minor party MPs, the telecommunications industry, technology companies and consumer groups.

It amends the Copyright Act to allow rights holders to apply for overseas websites used for downloading and uploading copyright infringing content – such as The Pirate Bay – to be blocked.

The government estimates the scheme would cost ISPs $130,000 per year to comply with the legislation.

The industry has previously tentatively estimated the cost of the scheme to be upwards of $30 per IP address.

The government has said it would provide the telco industry $131 million over three years to help companies meet their new obligations under the mandatory data retention scheme, but the scheme has been forecast to cost up to $319 million to set up and $4 per customer annually to maintain.

Royalty-creating app Eternify targets Spotify

A pop group unhappy at how music streaming service Spotify pays recording artists has created a web app that artificially generates royalties.

The Eternify app puts any artist’s songs on endless repeat, playing just 30 seconds at a time – the minimum required to be considered a “listen”.

Spotify said it was looking into whether it broke the service’s rules.

Compared with physical sales – or even downloads – the money artists make from streaming is minute.

Eternify plays 30-second portions of an artist’s back catalogue continually – with indicator that estimates how much money is being generated in royalties.

It makes use of Spotify’s public API – Application Programming Interface – launched by the company to help third parties make apps that incorporate catalogue.

Other disgruntled acts have tried to game the system in the past. Funk band Vulfpeck released Sleepify, an entire album of silence.

The band encouraged fans to play the album on repeat while they slept – and in doing so generated about $20,000 (£12,700) in royalties.

The album was later removed, with Spotify quipping: “It’s a clever stunt, but we prefer Vulfpeck’s earlier albums.”


Taylor Swift makes Apple change music policy

Taylor Swift has made tech giant Apple change the way it pays artists on its new streaming service Apple Music.

She said she wasn’t going to allow the company to stream her album 1989 as she was unhappy with the three-month free trial offered to subscribers.

During the trial period music makers would not be paid and Taylor said this was “unfair”, arguing that Apple had the money to cover the cost. “Three months is a long time to go unpaid, and it is unfair to ask anyone to work for nothing,” she said.

In response, Apple now says it will pay artists for music streamed during free trial periods.

Patsy Cline first Country star to return via hologram

Late singer Patsy Cline will become the first Country star – and first female – to return to the stage via hologram at a new concert show launching in 2016.

It follows “live appearances” by late rapper Tupac Shakur at 2012’s Coachella festival and Michael Jackson at last year’s Billboard Music Awards.

Cline died in a plane crash in 1963.

Along with Cline, there are new shows in the works featuring Buddy Holly and Liberace.

The Liberace hologram will naturally debut in Las Vegas before touring the world, although no dates have yet been announced.

It will be a “full-scale, long-running” show including audience interaction, so fans can “feel the warmth from his heart, the sparkle of his eye and the pure lightning from his fingertips” according to the Liberace Foundation.

The virtual Buddy Holly is due to headline a new show debuting in the state of Texas – where the star was born – in 2016.

Patsy Cline

Uber fined $1.7 million by Queensland

A cease and desist order has been in place on the app-based company since May last year, with transport officials slapping drivers with fines of up to $1707 for operating without authorisation.

Providing a taxi service without an appropriate licence can bring a fine of $1366.

In the past year, 1536 infringement notices have been issued against 538 drivers for a total value of $1,732,262. Of those, 1234 fines have been paid, reaping the state $1,415,213.

It is understood Uber pays the fines for its driver.

In May, Uber wrote to each of the state’s 89 MPs asking the government to “enter into meaningful conversations about reform and recognise ridesharing as a new and distinct form of point-to-point transport that requires a new regulatory approach”.

The Queensland Taxi Council countered Uber was attempting to “bully” its way into the marketplace, with an unfair advantage.

Dallas Buyers Club pirates to be asked about income, disabilities

If a person denies they are a pirate, that person may be compelled to “deliver up your computer for analysis”, the letter says.

“If you admit that you engaged in Piracy and no settlement can be reached, then DBC and Voltage may commence proceedings against you for Copyright Infringement,” the letter reads.

ISP iiNet, the main defendant in the case, has offered free legal advice to people who receive the letter.

This letter remains quiet on the amount an infringer would be fined, but suggests the alleged pirate contact DBC’s lawyers to discuss a settlement amount.

“It is not simply a question of paying for the price of obtaining a copy of the film,” the letter says.

“On peer to peer networks, any work file shared is made available to hundreds, if not thousands of persons, thereby giving a potential claim for damages in respect of multiple copies of our client’s work.”

It also asks the following questions:

Are you unemployed, disabled or suffering from terminal illness?

Are you currently employed and on what basis?

What is your annual income?

How long have you been using the BitTorrent network?

Did you download DBC on the BitTorrent network? If so, when? If not, how did you get it on your computer to make it available to other on the BitTorrent network?

How many titles do you have available now and in the past on the BitTorrent network?

Anyone who receives the letter and wishes to settle would need to call a phone number or send an email within 28 days.

“If you do not, then court action may be commenced against you without further notice,” the letter says.

Alleged pirates will also be contacted by telephone, but the telephone script remains confidential.

The letter and telephone script are yet to be approved by Justice Nye Perram.


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