Episode 460 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Apple’s popularity fueling the growth of OS X malware

A 10-week long study of 1,400 unique OS X malware samples found that the number of instances in 2015 alone is five times greater than in the previous five years combined. The researchers credited this growth to Apple’s success in boosting its market share among consumers and corporations.

Researchers observed most of the malware leveraging one of seven distinct persistence techniques in order to remain active on a system, including LaunchAgents, LaunchDaemons, Cron job, Login items, Browser plugins, StartupItems and Binary infection.

Surface Book, Surface Pro 4 to launch at Sydney Microsoft Store

Microsoft’s newly announced Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 will go on sale at the opening of its flagship store in Sydney on 12 November.

Located in Westfield Sydney in Pitt Street Mall, the new location is the first Microsoft store outside of North America. The shop will be one of the two largest Microsoft stores in the world; the other in New York City will open on 26 October.

Microsoft’s stores will have a technical help desk and repairs services, “regardless of device or where it was purchased”. The combined staff at the Sydney store will speak more than 21 languages.

The store is also fitted with “immersive video walls” and a Community Theatre where customers can learn how to use Microsoft products.

As part of the opening, Microsoft is also donating US$2 million to “several non-profit community groups” in software and technology grants in Australia

Microsoft looks to be aiming for Apple-esque buzz around the opening by inviting customers to line up as early as 10pm the night before, with the grand opening ceremony kicking off at 11:30am on Thursday 12 November.

Kogan re-enters telco space with Vodafone

Kogan and Vodafone will offer a prepaid mobile service under the Kogan Mobile name, after the online retailer stopped offering mobile services in 2013.

The Kogan Mobile business, which was caught up in the collapse of Telstra wholesaler ispONE in 2013, today began offering unlimited national calls, texts and 3GB of data for $29.90 for 30 days on the Kogan Mobile 3XL plan.

Kogan is offering 30, 90 and 365 day prepaid plans, with the Kogan Mobile 3XL plan costing for $299.90 for a year. There is also a Kogan Mobile 5XL option with unlimited standard national call and texts and 5GB of data within Australia for $36.90 for 30 days, or $369.90 per year.

Other features include a “tri-fit” SIM card and per kilobyte charging. Customers can also earn one Qantas Point for every dollar spent with Kogan Mobile.

Kogan Mobile does not offer 4G, unlike some rivals like Amaysim. Amaysim recently launched a $24.90 unlimited plan offering 4G via Optus and 1GB of data per month.

Coles reselling Optus prepaid plans for $10

Coles is selling a ‘$10 for 10 days’ prepaid plan offering unlimited national calls and text and 400MB on Optus’ 4G plus network. Coles is also selling a $10 pay-as-you-go plan charging 12 cents per minute for national calls, 12 cents per SMS and 12 cents per MB of data.

Woolworths is reselling Telstra 3G pre-paid with $30 and $45 packages inclusive of voice, SMS and data.

Telstra’s Netflix streaming TV device will cost $109

Telstra broadband customers will get exclusive access to the telco’s video on demand streaming device when it goes on sale on 27 October for $109.

The telco is reselling a white-labelled Roku 2 streaming device as part of its Telstra TV service, which will first launch with 15 video stream apps, including Netflix and Presto, with Stan coming in November.

Users can only purchase the device from Telstra’s retail and online stores if they have a Telstra account ID.

Customers who purchase Telstra TV before Christmas will receive a three-month subscription to Stan and Presto.

Telstra and News Corp are behind pay TV network Foxtel, which is a 50 percent owner of the Presto streaming service with Seven West Media. Rival streaming service Stan is a joint venture of Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media.

Telstra TV replaces T-Box, Telstra’s digital set-top box for streaming Presto and free-to-air TV. Telstra discontinued TBox on 2 September but will continue to support existing customers.

YouTube to launch subscription service

Initially only available in the US, YouTube Red will cost $9.99 (£6.50) a month and have no adverts.

YouTube Red original shows will include:

Scare PewDiePie – a reality adventure series as Felix reacts to situations inspired by his favourite games.

Sing it! – A comedy that satirises talent competitions

Lazer Team – A movie featuring four losers who find an alien ship carrying an strange cargo

A Trip to Unicorn Island – An in-depth look at the life of Lilly Singh as she embarks on a 26 city tour.

Single by 30 – a romantic drama about two high school friends who pledge to marry each other if they are still unwed at 30

Fight of the Living Dead – a reality show that puts popular YouTubers in a frightening zombie apocalypse to see how they cope

I Am Tobuscus – a comedy about a self-involved YouTube creator trying to be a big star

The roster also includes some as yet untitled items such as a show based around the science of video games that will be filmed for VR headsets, a reality series that puts YouTube stars into a murder mystery setting and an anthology looking at the absurdity of internet culture.


Tesla Powerwall home battery coming to Australia within months

Australia has been “prioritised” as one of the first regions to get Tesla’s new Powerwall battery storage solution, giving solar users the power to control how and when they use their energy.

Tesla has confirmed that its home battery backup system will be coming to Australia, with the electric vehicle company announcing Thursday the Tesla Powerwall will be available locally within months.

Firstunveiled by Tesla CEO Elon Musk in the US in May, the Powerwall is a lithium-ion battery module that stores backup electricity from solar panels, charging up during non-peak energy usage periods, then providing energy back to the home during peak hours.

Designed to balance loads on the power grid, Tesla launched the Powerwall in 7- and 10 kilowatt-hour (kWh) modules, available in the US for $3,000 and $3,500 respectively. The company coupled this with the industrial 100kWh Powerpack, which is designed to be scaled up for commercial applications.

Now, Tesla has confirmed that its Tesla Energy division will be coming to Australia, making the Powerwall available in “late 2015.”

While solar panels are a common sight on Australian roofs, the entry of a big-name brand such as Tesla into the battery space could certainly do more to promote the idea of storing this solar energy.

AJune study by Bloomberg New Energy Finance showed that though Tesla was yet to arrive in Australia, its push into energy had already brought down local prices of battery storage products, including a Samsung model marketed by Solar Juice, and a storage solution from AU Optronics marketed by AGL Energy in Queensland.

Tesla has clearly had its eye on the local industry, with the company releasing a statement today saying that Australia had been “prioritised” as the first market to get the Powerwall after North America and selected countries in Europe, including Germany.

Because of the way electricity is sold by retail providers and then bought off homes that generate their own electricity,

Tesla says Australian home owners set up for solar stand to benefit from the Powerwall.

“The 7kWh daily cycling Powerwall is a compelling option for Australian residential solar users,” the company said in its statement.

“Powerwall will enable solar customers to store solar energy they produce during peak sunlight hours with a newly announced power of 3.3kW, continuous and peak. They can then use this energy in the night time hours, rather than purchasing electricity at the retail price and selling their solar back to the grid for the feed-in-tariff rate.”

Previously, the Powerwall was only capable of providing power of 3.3kW in peak periods, but not continuously.

While Tesla is yet to release any information about pricing and availability, it says the Powerwall will be sold through “a growing list of Tesla Energy partners” ranging from “major utility companies through to solar supply companies.” Details are set to be announced by individual resellers in the coming weeks.

Tesla has confirmed that both the 7kWh and 10kWH Powerwalls will be available locally, with the 7kWh set to big the main seller for those looking to manage peak and off-peak energy use, thanks to its daily cycling. The 10kWh weekly cycle Powerwall is more likely to be geared to rural properties as a back-up solution, though both models can be stacked up to a total of 9 connected units.

Finally, the 100kWh Powerpack will also be coming to Australia for commercial users, with battery blocks designed to be grouped to scale from 500 kWh to 10MWh.


Telstra TV keeps unmetered streaming in the family

Telstra TV is hitting stores on October 27, with bonus streaming subscriptions and a price tag to match Apple TV to entice buyers. But when it comes to unmetered streaming, Telstra is looking after its own.

Telstra TV will go head to head with Apple TV when it launches at the end of this month, bringing Telstra customers catch-up TV and SVOD apps alongside content channels such as YouTube and Red Bull TV. But while Netflix will be available on Telstra TV from launch, the telco is looking after its home turf first, offering unmetered streaming of titles through BigPond Movies and Presto.

First announced in July, Telstra TV is a rebrand of one of the US market’s most popular set-top box streaming services, Roku,targeted solely at Telstra home broadband customers. Telstra may have ditched the Roku name, but the hardware will offer a similar service towhat’s offered in the US: subscription video on demand services, catch-up TV and apps such as Dropbox, all delivered through the user’s home broadband connection to watch on a regular TV.

The telco has now confirmed that Telstra TV will be available online and in Telstra stores nationally from 27 October, with a AU$109 price tag — the same price as the current version of Apple TV. Telstra TV will also be included with selected L and XL broadband bundles.

Telstra has confirmed a number of apps will be available on Telstra TV from launch. These include SVOD services Netflix and Presto (which is owned by Foxtel, itself part owned by Telstra) and catch-up TV services SBS on Demand, PLUS7 and 9JumpIn. There will also be a number of other content apps including YouTube, Red Bull TV, Awesomeness TV, Wall Street Journal, GoPro, Vimeo, Crunchy Roll, Dropbox and Roku Media Player.

Telstra has also confirmed that Stan will launch on the service in November.

Content streaming and downloads from Bigpond Movies and Presto will be unmetered on Telstra Home Broadband accounts, and customers who get the Telstra TV before December 25 will receive a AU$15 BigPond Movie voucher, a bonus three months subscription to Presto and a three months subscription to Stan (when it becomes available).

Telstra TV comes with 256MB of onboard storage with USB 2.0 and MicroSD ports for expanding storage, wireless and Ethernet connectivity, an HDMI 1.4 port, and support for 1080p video and Dolby Digital 7.1 sound.


Coming to an area near you: NBN reveals three-year rollout plan

When will you get the NBN? The company rolling out the nation’s broadband network has released a comprehensive list of the suburbs in its sights, detailing construction timelines and the technology it will use.

NBN has shed light on its broadband rollout schedule for the next three years, giving Australians a better idea of when construction will begin for 7.5 million homes and businesses across the country, and the technology that will be used in each area.


The company responsible for building Australia’s national broadband network released itsthree-year plan today, covering the period up until September 2018, which for the first time includes details about where NBN will use cable TV networks or hybrid-fibre coaxial cable (HFC) to deliver broadband.

Head over toNBN’s website for a detailed list of the areas included in the three-year plan, ordered by state and broken down into individual suburbs, premises served, anticipated technology and expected construction commencement date.

The plan also provides a detailed roadmap of NBN’s new strategy to deliver the national broadband network using a Multi-Technology Mix. This MTM approach,ordered by the Coalition Government when it came into power last year, will see the company use a mix of previously-used fibre to the premises technology, as well as lower cost fibre to the node technology that uses Telstra’s legacy copper network. This will combine with HFC in metro areas as well assatellite connectivity for regional and remote areas.

According to NBN, this multi-technology approach will help it begin construction on 9.5 million homes and businesses by September 2018, with 8 million homes expected to be connected by 2020.

While NBN may haveofficially killed off fibre to the premises, saying there isno need to “gold plate” its networks, Australians can still find out which particular technology will be used in their area and when construction will begin.

NBN CEO Bill Morrow said the rollout was “exciting news for the suburbs and towns added to construction.” However, the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network says that some consumers will “still be waiting up to five years for adequate broadband services” under the plan and should be offered alternatives in the interim.

This is a known issue in regional Australia, where customers complain of a lack of service from established ISPs and telcos as they await completion of the national broadband network.

“ACCAN is very concerned for consumers who have not made the list and are currently unable to get adequate broadband services,” said the organisation’s CEO Teresa Corbin. “Some consumers are experiencing this if there are no ADSL ports available or their premises are too far from exchanges.

“ACCAN is calling on the telecommunications industry to address any gaps and provide affordable interim solutions for these consumers. In particular, we are calling on Telstra to maintain existing services and to investigate alternative solutions for consumers in exchange areas without available services.”



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