Episode 474 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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MyTransLink has a new feature – the trip announcer!

Use the trip announcer feature to track your journey in real-time. The screen will update as the trip progresses, displaying a map, the stop names and remaining trip time.  You can also set stop announcements that will announce your pre-selected stop or the next stops on the route.

There are a number of ways you can access the trip announcer:

  • Go to “Timetables”, select your bus, train, ferry or tram route, scroll to your departure stop, select the departure stop or the time of your service.

  • Go to “Find stops”, find and select your stop, select your service.

  • Go to “My Services”, select your favourite bus, train, ferry or tram route, scroll to your departure stop, select the departure stop or the time of your service.

  • Go to “My Stops”, select your favourite stop, select your service.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Z4rPukJ5J1U


Doctor Who Digital Pinball Table – Fully Funded

The kickstarter project to help recreate the 1990’s Doctor Who Pinball Table in digital form, has reached its target.

With three days to go the project has raised over $56,000, enough to purchase the the licences to allow Farsight studios to recreate the famous 1992 Doctor Who Pinball Table for Consoles and Mobile devices.

In addition the makers have announced that, as well as recreating the classic Doctor Who table, they intend to develop an modern version of the table, featuring the latest doctors and new material from the show.

New tiers have been added to the Kickstarter campaign that include early access to this new version of the table.

The campaign closes on Saturday.

For full details see the project’s Kickstarter page.


ACCC to pursue Apple for bricking iPhones

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission will be querying Apple on its practice of deliberately deactivating iPhones that have been repaired by non-Apple service providers.

UK newspaper The Guardianreported last week that upon upgrade to iOS 9, the operating system would detect if the device’s home button or the fingerprint recognition sensor was not in its original state.

The iPhone could be in such a state as a result of repair by a non-Apple service provider or simply that the hardware was imperfect from use. Upon detection, the device displays “error 53”, with the operating system forcibly and permanently making the iPhone unusable – a practice known as “bricking” the phone.

Apple Store staff reportedly cannot reverse the bricking.

you could get your screen replaced by a neighborhood repair facility for US$50-80, Apple charges US$129 or more. There is incentive for Apple to keep end users from finding alternative methods to fix their products.

In the UK, The Guardianreported a barrister as saying Apple’s “reckless” policy of “killing” iPhones could potentially be in violation of the Criminal Damage Act, which makes it “an offence to intentionally destroy the property of another”.

US legal firm PCVA has called on affected users to register their interest about a potential class action lawsuit against the vendor

PCVA stated that the situation is analogous to repairing one’s car at a local mechanic.

“Under Apple’s strategy, your car would no longer start because you didn’t bring it to an official dealership. They intentionally disable your car because you tried to fix it yourself,” the law firm said.

“That is wrong, and we hope to prove that it violates various consumer protection laws in the United States.”


Optus is most complained-about telco

Optus has recorded more new complaints per user in the last quarter than either Telstra or Vodafone.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman announced that it received 5.9 new complaints per 10,000 services in operation for Optus in the quarter ending 31 December. Telstra recorded 4.9 and Vodafone had 3.5 new complaints per 10,000 services.

Amaysim – Australia’s fourth largest mobile telco and an Optus 4G reseller – left its larger rivals for dead, with just 0.7 new complaints per 10,000 services.

Optus took on the mantle of most complained-about communications provider in March last year, taking over from Vodafone. As recently as the quarter to December 2014, the Ombudsman was fielding 10.5 complaints per 10,000 Vodafone services.

….Is it a security thing? like xbox modding etc – 3rd party buttons might have malware etc???


Telstra giving away data to all mobile customers due to outage

Telstra is giving all its customers free mobile data all day Sunday following a mass outage that impacted 3G and 4G services across the country

In an interview with 702 ABC Sydney radio, Telstra admitted the problem was down to human error.

“While the outage was short in duration we fully realise the impact it had on our customers, which is why we are offering all of our customers a day of free mobile data this Sunday.”


Microsoft boss Pip Marlow joins Australian Rugby Union board

Microsoft Australia managing director Pip Marlow has been appointed as a director on the Australian Rugby Union board.

Marlow fills the spot left by former chairman Michael Hawke who announced his retirement in December.

you imagine she is fulltime at MS so where do people get time to sit on boards? own time or they do what they like when the high flyers? seen as networking ? ERIK


Google to show anti-terrorism ads to would-be extremists

Those counter-narratives will take the form of Google AdWords, the sponsored links that appear at the top of a Google search result. It isn’t clear what words will prompt a response, but the general idea seems to be that users searching for extremist material will throw up a couple of anti-extremist links.

A similar technique is currently in place for searches relating to suicide – wherein searches relating to that subject bring up links to the Samaritans and other refuge organisations.

Committee chairman Keith Vaz also asked representatives from Facebook, Twitter and Google how many of its employees were on “hot squads” for removing inappropriate content from their sites. He was told that Twitter, which has 320 million users, employs “more than 100” staff for that purpose. Google and Facebook declined to give figures publically.

Isn’t this censorship ? what do we think? is it ok about some topics and not others ?


‘Netflix tax’ bill hits parliament
The federal government has introduced draft legislation that would see the goods and services tax applied to digital products purchased from overseas

Products captured under the law would include digital music, applications, games, e-books, movies (streamed and downloaded) as well as consultancy and professional services, the bill states.

The government expects the move will reap it $350 million over four years, to be passed on to the states.

Treasurer Scott Morrison today said the changes would bring the tax system up to date with the 21st century economy.

Companies that sell more than $75,000 worth of products into Australia would need to register their products with the ATO for GST collection. The request will also be made to not-for-profits selling $150,000 worth of goods.

The government expects around 100 overseas digital vendors will register with the ATO.

Where sales are made through electronic marketplaces like eBay or Amazon, the platform operator will hold liability for GST rather than the product vendor, the draft law states.

The draft legislation is coupled with the government’s policy decision to remove the $1000 GST-free threshold for online goods by mid 2017.


Vic police want to shoot GPS trackers at fleeing cars

Police officers in Victoria have put forward a case for GPS tracking devices to be shot onto cars speeding away from officers in order to reduce the risk involved in high-speed chases.

Officers also asked for remote vehicle disabling technology that would cut off a car’s fuel supply and take control of its brakes.

The ideas arose from a survey of almost 3000 officers by the Victorian Police Association, which found 93 percent of the surveyed officers were unhappy with the force’s current pursuit policy.

A “fleeing vehicle tagging system”, as termed in the survey, would allow a “laser guided projectile” to be fired at a fleeing vehicle so police can track its movements via GPS.

Vic police want to shoot GPS trackers at fleeing cars


Australian PPC-1 cable cut, out of action until March

The PPC-1 Australian submarine cable running between Sydney and the United States island territory of Guam has been fully severed, with the repair estimated to take around a month to complete.

After receiving an alert that a submarine line card for the cable had lost its payload, TPG engineers and the provider’s infrastructure vendors found a fault around 4590 kilometres from Guam.

A repair ship will be dispatched and the estimated time of service restoration is Monday, March 7, TPG said.

Traffic rerouted over Southern Cross and Australia-Japan Cable systems

From their website:

PPC-1 is PIPE International’s submarine cable connecting Australia to Guam. The cable system spans 7,000 km and initially links Australia directly to Guam, providing international carriers and operators a new and competitive opportunity to interconnect other systems to Australia. In two short years PPC-1 went from a concept to becoming Australia’s first independent submarine cable. It is the single largest investment in Australia’s competitive telecommunications infrastructure since the dot-com era.


Thousands flock to ‘malware museum’

An online archive of old computer malware has attracted more than 100,000 visitors since it launched four days ago.

Some of the software showed an animation or messages. Others invited the infected user to play a game.

The malware all dates from the 1980s and 1990s.

The versions online have all been stripped of their destructive capabilities, but show the messages they would have displayed within emulator windows.

https://archive.org/details/malwaremuseum&tab=collection

The Curator’s personal favourite is a virus called Casino, which overwrote a crucial part of the computer’s file system but took a copy of personal files and then offered the user the opportunity to win them back in a game of Jackpot.

“Casino was a real problem,” Mr Hypponen, who works at security firm F-Secure, told the BBC.

“At the time the advice was, you lose nothing by playing. In the early 1990s very few people had back-ups so you had lost your files anyway.”

He said he was surprised by the number of people who felt nostalgic about the old malware.

Many of the viruses were created by “happy hackers” rather than organised criminals, said the curator

Casino virus


Shayne – 11/2/16

Dallas Buyers Club Throws In The Towel On iiNet Piracy Case

  • After a year & a half the people behind the copyright lawsuit against 4000 Iinet customers is finally over with them giving up trying to get the details of the alleged offenders.

  • Late last year the Federal Court dismissed the case entirely with an option to appeal by 11/2/16 (today)

  • Over the journey what the Dallas Buyers Club people wanted dwindled down to the cost of the film, a reasonable licence fee & court costs.  But they could not agree on what a reasonable fee would be.

What a Week Telstra Has Had – 2 Outages

  • Telstra customers experienced 2 major outages this week

  • The first major outage that affected millions of mobile customers on Tuesday was as the result of a technician not following the correct procedure while trying to fix a faulty node

  • This meant that other major nodes were essentially offline, unable to cope with the extra traffic

  • In addition to the outage, some of the light hearted tweets from the official Telstra Twitter account raised eyebrows.  Upper management did not see the funny side

  • Telstra is offering free data to all its customers on Sunday 14/2/16

  • The second outage had less of an impact, affecting access to thousands of websites mainly hosted by Bluehost, HostGator and Hostmonster by Telstra Broadband customers

  • This outage was due to router failure. – Not sure why redundant routers did not kick in

France gives Facebook 3 months to stop snooping on non-users’ browsing history

  • Facebook has three months to comply with the French privacy watchdog demands and stop collecting data on people who don’t have accounts with the social network

  • Facebook’s current data protection policy which allows it to track browsing activity of non-registered users without their consent or knowledge was deemed illegal by the French regulator

  • Facebook follows internet users across all the sites they enter after they have visited a publicly shared Facebook page via the use of Cookies.

  • The data obtained is then used for marketing purposes, which violates user’s’ right to privacy

  • Facebook, as well as thousands of other companies, was obliged to find an alternative way of moving data that wouldn’t break the European law within three months. That deadline expired last week

  • The case may be settled amicably if Facebook reconsiders its personal data policy and manages to fulfill the watchdog’s demands on time

Google’s Chromecast 2 And Chromecast Audio Are Finally Coming To Australia

  • Gizmodo reports that the Google Chromecast 2 & Chromecast Audio will be on sale in Australia in a few weeks

  • According to their article, Kogan have it listed on their website & JB HiFI have it in their inventory & marketing material is also in stores

  • According to Ausdroid sources the price for both the Chromecast 2 and Chromecast Audio is advertised at $59, with multiple SKU codes in the JB Hi Fi system – Can’t see how you can justify the same price for 2 different products

  • Google Australia have declined to comment

Java installer flaw shows why you should clear your Downloads folder

  • On Friday, Oracle published a security advisory recommending that users delete all old Java installers from their computers and use new ones for versions 6u113, 7u97, 8u73 or later.

  • The older Java installers are designed to look for and automatically load a number of specifically named DLL files from the current directory. The downloaded directory in the case of Java.

  • If an attacker manages to place a specifically named malicious DLL into a computer’s “Downloads” folder, that file will be executed when the user tries to install Java for the first time or when he manually updates an existing Java installation by downloading and running a new installer

EBF

TIME FOR A BETTER

BUSINESS PLAN?

New customers can enjoy a massive 15GB of data for just $90/mth (normally $100/mth for 8GB) on a Go Business Mobile SIM L plan.

https://www.telstra.com.au/small-business/mobile-phones/mobile-plans/go-business-mobile-plans

Telstra explains network outage as worker faces the music

TELSTRA was quick to blame one of its workers for an “embarrassing” error yesterday that caused a widespread outage but one consultant says the telco may soon regret its response.

IT operations consultant Sam Newman of ThoughtWorks, says seeing Telstra chief operations officer Kate McKenzie place the blame for the outage on one individual was “nonsensical”.

Mr Newman has studied how failures are caused in complex systems including websites and financial trading systems, and said all humans made mistakes.

“A normal human being making a simple mistake shouldn’t be able to cause this massive outage … you should have automation, checks and balances,” he said.

Another concerning thing was the strange “double-speak” that Telstra engaged in, seeming to blame the individual for making the error, while also admitting it had not done a full investigation.

“You are throwing one individual under the bus … and this kind of blame culture creates a very toxic work environment,” Mr Newman said, adding that it may lead employees to cover up their mistakes in the future.

He said it was incredibly surprising that a COO of a major organisation like Telstra would come out with a statement like that.

“It speaks to a lack of understanding of how failures occur. Looking for a single cause of failure is like looking for a single cause of success,” he said.

“It’s about the system you create, it’s not about individuals.”

Mr Newman said observing Telstra’s response was like “watching a car crash in slow motion”.

“It’s pretty crushing for morale … to see senior leadership throwing individual employees under the bus,” he said. “I’d be looking for another job”.

Mr Newman said his colleagues were also stunned.

“When Amazon has outages you don’t see them behave like this,” he said, adding that Telstra instead should have admitted it screwed up and confirmed it was looking into it.

Offering free data on Monday or soon after would also have been a better response than giving customers free data on Sunday, especially as the outage occurred on a weekday and would have impacted businesses.

‘DON’T THROW THAT WORKER UNDER THE BUS’

Yesterday Ms McKenzie told reporters that “[The employee responsible] didn’t follow procedures and clearly that’s not a good thing but I wouldn’t want to pre-empt the proper investigation and we’ll figure out what the right response is when we’ve had a chance to dig into the detail.”

She added: “I think he’s probably had the worst day of his career.”

When asked whether there would be repercussions for the worker, a Telstra spokesman told news.com.au this morning that it would make an official statement but indicated the outage was just “human error”.

“While this incident was the result of human error, our focus is on examining the processes that we have in place so we can prevent this type of error causing such an impact to our network,” he said.

Despite the huge inconvenience to millions of customers, many were sympathetic about the blunder and concerned that the engineer would be punished.

One Twitter user tweeted Telstra saying: “Please don’t throw that worker under a bus, we all make mistakes, sometimes they just have wider repercussions than others”.

Others criticised Telstra for blaming one employee for a systemic issue.

“If the system demands people to be perfect, it failed,” one Twitter user said.

Another said: “Seeing @telstra’s COO throwing one person under the bus for a major outage is just plain embarrassing”.

TELSTRA EXPLAINS OUTAGE

In a blog statement, Telstra chief operations officer Kate McKenzie, who yesterday described the outage as “an embarrassing human error”, provided further details about what happened.

She said the outage stemmed from a faulty node, which is a major connection point that Telstra customers use to access voice and data services. Nodes manage the flow of voice and data traffic across its mobile network.

“The outage was triggered when one of these nodes experienced a technical fault and was taken offline to fix,” Ms McKenzie wrote.

She said normally customers would not be impacted as services would be transferred to another node before the faulty one was taken offline.

“Unfortunately on this occasion the right procedures were not followed and this resulted in customers being disconnected and consequent heavy congestion on other nodes as customers attempted to reconnect to the network.”

BUSINESS COUNTS THE COST

The outage cost some businesses thousands in lost productivity.

PoweredLocal founder Michael Jankie told news.com.au that the two-hour outage had cost his wi-fi marketing service about $15,000 in sales.

Mr Jankie said the company’s 20-odd account managers were unable to sign up new clients as it was unable to demonstrate PoweredLocal’s services. The company provides small businesses such as cafes the ability to offer their customers free wi-fi in return for a Facebook check-in.

“We didn’t make any sales yesterday which is very unusual … we should have signed $15,000 worth of sales,” he told news.com.au.

He said he had not been in touch with Telstra about the outage but believed that it would be very difficult to calculate fair compensation.

While Telstra has offered its customers free data on Sunday, Mr Jankie said this was a bit of a “slap in the face”.

“Businesses would have been the most financially affected (by the outage) … and they will be unlikely to be using data on Sunday,” he said.

In general, Telstra’s service was fantastic but he said it needed to be functioning at 100 per cent. “There are too many essential services (relying on it) for it to fail at a national level,” he said.

IS FREE DATA OFFER ENOUGH?

There was also a mixed response on social media to Telstra’s free data offer.

The outage affected up to 16.7 million services attached to Telstra’s 3G and 4G networks and prevented phone calls from connecting to customers mobile phones, while other users reported complete loss of phone and data services.

Telstra confirmed the massive mobile phone service outage at 12.23pm AEDT, and did not start bringing services back online until after 2pm AEDT, though the company warned its service status page could display incorrect information due to overwhelming demand.

“While the outage was short in duration we fully realise the impact it had on our customers, which is why we are offering all of our customers a day of free mobile data this Sunday,” Ms McKenzie said. “Customers don’t need to do anything to receive the free data, it will happen automatically for all of our mobile customers.

“I apologise again on behalf of the company and thank everyone for their patience while we restored services.”

YouTube Red is coming to Australia, but who, if anybody, should be worried?

YOUTUBE Red is not even available in Australia yet but already it’s dividing opinion.

Some say it’s the next great competitor to rival Netflix, Stan and Presto. Others say it’s a rip-off disguised to charge existing platform users for the privilege of avoiding those annoying ads.

Most of all, it’s a mystery, given the video sharing giant has been very tight-lipped about the roll out.

YouTube Red was cautiously floated in the US in October last year. The cracks are still being ironed out but what we know is that for $US9.99 a month (first month free), subscribers will get access to original content unavailable elsewhere. Movies, TV series, documentaries and, we can only assume, plenty of new cat videos and pranks.

The Netflix, Stan and Presto business models already deliver unique content, but where YouTube Red distinguishes itself is in its secondary offerings. Those include access to streaming music and offline video viewing, something digital media expert Marc C-Scott says sets them apart.

“That’s part of the bargaining to get them across the line,” he told news.com.au.

The Google-owned business said in a statement on Thursday it will soon release “lots more thrills, chills, LOLs, smiles, romances and surprises”, but that’s about all it said, and that’s part of the problem, at least for Australian viewers.

YouTube Red is coming to Australia, apparently, but a spokesman told news.com.au it had no idea when that might be.

“There are no plans or timelines to announce at the moment. There’s no timeline for Australia.”

In the US, YouTube Red is this week launching its first four titles, featuring “homegrown” artists. The titles appear to be targeted at YouTube’s younger, already established audience, so presumably subscriptions will be coming out of the pocket money of teens and pre-teens.

Among the programs on offer are a musical teen drama, a TV series from the creator of The Walking Dead, a documentary by YouTube star Lilly Singh and a comedy titled Lazer Team.

Mr C-Scott, a lecturer in screen media at Victoria University, said YouTube Red has its limitations and other video-on-demand streaming services need not worry just yet.

“The information is a bit limited so it’s difficult to work out exactly what it is. It targets a different market to Netflix and the way the content is produced is quite different.”

He said where YouTube Red might run into problems is with the manner in which people already consume YouTube content.

“If you look at YouTube now, over 50 per cent of videos are viewed on mobile devices. That longer format (documentaries, movies) might not necessarily work.”

Should free-to-air networks in Australia be worried? Mr C-Scott said instead of worrying about what else is out there, Australian networks should focus on getting their own products right.

YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl told an audience at the YouTube Red launch in October that the commercial platform will complement YouTube’s free service.

“YouTube Red marks an evolution in our desire to give fans more choice and features that they love and a much better experience,” he said.

The Los Angeles Times reports it “remains highly unlikely” Red will unseat Netflix. Whatever the case, there’s money to be made. Lots of it. A Credit Suisse analyst said even a small percentage of YouTube’s billion-plus viewers converting to a paid model would deliver Google — which bought YouTube in 2006 — 10 times the annual revenue derived from advertising alone. It’s believed the revenue would be shared with creative partners.

Mr C-Scott said YouTube Red would likely be trialled in the US to gauge its pulling power before its rolled out elsewhere.

“They might use US to see if it works first. No one knew Netflix would go viral but it did. In a digital environment, anything can happen.”

On social media, users are divided and confused. Until YouTube offers more information, their questions will go unanswered.

 

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