Episode 512 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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ACCC takes reseller MSY Technology to court over misrepresentation of consumer rights

The regulator alleges that MSY claimed it had discretion over whether a customer was entitled to a remedy for a faulty product; that the reseller chose which remedy it would provide to customers; that it only provided remedies for products returned within seven days; that MSY may have required the customer to pay an administration fee to receive a remedy for a faulty product that was out of warranty; and that it did not provide any remedies over faulty software.

This ACCC is examining a three-year period between January 2013 and February 2016.

This is not the first appearance of MSY Technology in court. In April 2011, the reseller was fined in $203,500 for misleading customers over their warranty entitlements.

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Amazon Web Services’ will migrate 100PB with a truck

AWS Snowmobile is an exabyte-scale data transfer service used to move extremely large amounts of data to AWS. You can transfer up to 100PB per Snowmobile, a 45-foot long ruggedized shipping container, pulled by a semi-trailer truck. Snowmobile makes it easy to move massive volumes of data to the cloud, including video libraries, image repositories, or even a complete data center migration. Transferring data with Snowmobile is secure, fast and cost effective.

After an initial assessment, a Snowmobile will be transported to your data center and AWS personnel will configure it for you so it can be accessed as a network storage target. When your Snowmobile is on site, AWS personnel will work with your team to connect a removable, high-speed network switch from Snowmobile to your local network and you can begin your high-speed data transfer from any number of sources within your data center to the Snowmobile. After your data is loaded, Snowmobile is driven back to AWS where your data is imported into Amazon S3 or Amazon Glacier.

Sydney-based Strut Digital was one of the first partners to use the Snowball to migrate data into AWS S3 for magazine publisher Bauer Media.

Jassy said the 45ft, ruggedised, truck-drawn version is a response to customers who wanted to move much larger volumes of data to the cloud.

The Snowmobile comes with its own generator – it draws 350 KW of AC power – and a network cable capable of supporting data ingestion at a rate of 1TB per second, which AWS claims can see the storage facility filled in about 10 days.

Jassy said it would previously have taken 26 years to upload an exabyte of data to the cloud over a dedicated 10Gbps connection. With Snowmobile, he boasted, it can be done in 6 months.

AWS is targeting big enterprises and data-hungry start-ups with its new service.

Satellite operator DigitalGlobe is claiming to be the first customer of the exabyte scale migration solution, moving 100PB of its 16-year time-lapse image library to the AWS cloud.

Snowmobile is currently available in all AWS regions.

the transfer will be charged at US 0.5 cents per GB, per month.

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Telstra says goodbye to 2G

Telstra estimates around 87 billion phone calls have been made using the 2G service during its lifetime.

Telstra first announced its plans to close the network two years ago. Both Optus and Vodafone are set to follow suit next year.

Less than 1 percent of its network traffic came from 2G customers when Telstra first announced the network closure in July 2014.

Telstra is urging anyone still using devices that rely on the 2G network, including life-critical devices such as medical alarms, to urgently contact the vendor to arrange a replacement.

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Google to set up Sydney threat detection team

Google Australia is building a new team in Sydney that will take part in global efforts to detect and handle malicious activity on the company’s networks.

The company is in the process of hiring both a security engineering manager and security engineer for the team.

This is the team at Google that hunts for and helps respond to advanced (APT) attackers and insider threats,” Google said.

“Our goal is to build a fully automated detection and response machine – an automated SOC [security operations centre].”

Image result for google security operations


Australian banks told to build APIs to share data by 2018

Banks could be forced to give up their customers’ transaction histories to other banks and finance technology firms by July 2018 if the government adopts the recommendations of a parliamentary committee.

Govt committee argued a mandated data-sharing regime would give customers greater control over their personal information – such as relying on a third-party service to calculate whether they should move to a different bank – and boost competition.

Data included in the regime could canvass transaction histories, account balances, mortgage repayments and credit card activity, as well as small business customer data.

“At present banks, not consumers, hold the data,” the report stated.

The Australian lower house committee recommended ASIC create a framework that binds the banks to an API-based data sharing regime, outlining the privacy controls surrounding it and penalties for non-compliance.

It objected to CSV-based data exchange, arguing transaction costs would be higher than the use of APIs, and the need to standardise data would slow down exchanges.

In the UK example, banks have spent around £1 million ($1.7 million) each to create open APIs, according to Britain’s Open Data Institute.

The government is yet to say whether it will adopt the recommendations of the report

*****aren’t the calculators on the sites enough ? dont we keep statements?

Guess it makes it all that much easier.

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Facebook tries to keep us using Messenger by introducing new games, including arcade classics

Facebook Messenger users will soon be able to play old school arcade games while chatting to their chums as the social media giant rolls out free games on its platform to 30 countries, including Australia.

Anyone who updates the Messenger app today should see a tab marked “Instant Games” taking them to a screen where they can choose from an array of online games.


Cards Against Humanity’s Black Friday pointless crowdfunding sees people put $100,000 down hole

Cards Against Humanity, which describes itself as “a party game for horrible people’, said it was crowd-funding Holiday Hole, which began on Black Friday.

The funding was for a digger to make a hole in the ground at a site in America, which WIFR reported, was actually in Oregon, Illinois.

“As long as money keeps coming in, we’ll keep digging,” proclaims the site.

Anyone watching the live feed would see the digger standing idle and, for some peculiar reason, cough up money to get it digging again. A $5 donation bought three seconds of dig time and the event was live streamed with multiple camera angles.

One donor even coughed up $1750 to keep the digger at work

What do I get for contributing money to the hole?

A deeper hole. What else are you going to buy, an iPod?

How deep can you make this sucker?

Great question. As long as you keep spending, we’ll keep digging. We’ll find out together how deep this thing goes.

Is the hole bad for the environment?

No, this was just a bunch of empty land. Now there’s a hole there. That’s life.

Why aren’t you giving all this money to charity?

Why aren’t YOU giving all this money to charity? It’s your money.

The dig has now stopped after $100,573 was poured into it.

On Black Friday 2013, it raised the price of their popular and uncouth card game by $5. In 2014, customers were treated with the option to buy a box of bull faeces, and in 2015 the company literally sold nothing for $5 a piece. Customers received not a thing in exchange for their money, and the company reported earning $71,145.

The digger would get to work in the hole if $5 was pledged. It actually made a fair mess as more than $100,000 was given away. Pictured: Holiday Hole / YouYube


iPhone update leaves users furious due to battery drain issue

APPLE users have claimed the latest version of the iPhone operating system has played havoc with the battery in their device.

On the tech giant’s support firm, users have claimed the battery indicator hits 30 per cent before slumping to zero and shutting down the phone.

The disgruntled Apple lovers claim they were clobbered after downloading iOS 10.1.

One user wrote: “ It jumps from 30 per cent charge to 1 per cent in a few seconds then shuts down.

“As soon as it reboots after connecting to a charger it show 30 per cent charge.

“When I unplug it right away it still shows 30 per cent and runs like nothing happened for a good few hours.

“So it goes from zero charge to 30 per cent in the time it takes to reboot? Strange.”

He also suffered problems when starting his phone up in the morning.

“Shutting the phone down at night with a good 80 per cent charge, it won’t reboot in the morning due to no battery charge.

“I plug it in and its back to 30 per cent in a few seconds.”

Another user said he was suffering from an “identical issue after upgrading to 10.1.1.”

It is not known how many people are affected by the problem and whether it is isolated or widespread.

Meanwhile a number of disgruntled Apple customers have taken to Twitter to bemoan the issue.

“I can now watch my battery literally drain as I read a text,” complained one social media user.

Apple Glass: what the company needs to get right to make smart eyewear succeed

The Apple rumour mill is spinning with gossip that the company is developing and testing a set of augmented reality glasses. There’s little we know for certain about the plans, and the firm has reportedly not made a final decision about whether to commit to releasing a “smart glasses” product. But Apple has been enthusiastically recruiting engineers with expertise in both augmented and virtual reality.

There is strong speculation that any new wearable device from Apple will integrate with an iPhone and need one to operate, just as the Apple Watch does. Another rumour suggests Apple will add augmented reality capabilities to its iPhone camera so that it could recognise objects it filmed, including people’s faces. This raises the question of whether Apple would develop an additional wearable device that risked cannibalising a technology built into its flagship product.

Will Apple be able to avoid the issues that sunk Google Glass?

Will Apple be able to avoid the issues that sunk Google Glass?

But if the rumours of Apple’s smart glasses are true, there is plenty the company could learn from previous, largely unsuccessful attempts to make a head-mounted augmented reality display. When Google announced it was ceasing sales of its own Google Glass spectacles, some saw it as the start of a new phase of product development while others pronounced it a failure.

Some of the key reasons why Glass was ultimately unsuccessful related to concerns about privacy and security. And there is little or no evidence those concerns have lessened in the last few years. With increasing numbers of reports about cameras being hijacked by hackers, fraudsters and even blackmailers, any new smart glasses could be seen as a window into our world for criminals.

There would certainly be doubts about giving a corporation direct access to what we see with our own eyes. Trust will be a key issue, and is still low between corporations and the public. As even the iPhone is no longer the legendary unhackable device it was once seen as, Apple would need to fundamentally boost consumer trust and confidence for it to win customers over.

Other reasons cited for the failure of similar products included cost, limited battery life, our attachment to mobile phones and unwearable design. Alongside smartphones, virtual reality headsets, smart watches and so on, smart glasses may be one gadget too many, especially as Apple entry level prices are still high for many consumers. Consumers have also been bruised by under-performingand even dangerous batteries, and smart glasses would be another device that drains the iPhone and needs its own charging.

In terms of design, many users ditched Google Glass because it was a long way from being seen as cool. Apple’s product will need to be something we actually want to wear when we are on pubic view. The company may do well to root a new spectacle product in the functional minimalism of its smartphone and tablet ranges. Yet while that design ethos has lifted Apple to the number one spot in the last decade, those designs are now also being seen as becoming too safe and repetitive.

Microsoft is taking another tack with its HoloLens. In contrast to Google Glass, the device opts for an overtly tech look, an unashamedly prosthetic, even cyborg device. As a result, early reviews of the Hololens look past fashion design towards its potential for radical disruption.

There may be another more fundamental difficulty for Apple, however. Some commentators are suggesting current augmented reality technology is still too difficult for us to physically interact with. Apple would have to convince users that their new glasses are easy to use and will not lead us into brick walls or awkward interactions with family, colleagues, friends and strangers.

All this is important because Apple has been trading on long-past acts of creativity for years now. Judged by the mixed reaction to the Apple Watch, it’s not yet clear that wearables can change this situation or that a new set of smart glasses will represent a genuine disruption. There’s a chance that attempting to succeed with augmented reality will be seen as another “me-too” behaviour for the company.

Yet if Hololens or other products help augmented reality’s day to arrive sooner, and if Apple gets things right in terms of design, user experience, confidence and trust, it could be a breakthrough for the company.

The Conversation

Paul Levy is senior researcher in innovation management at the University of Brighton.

Curved iPhone on the cards for next year, says report

Next year is likely to be a big one for the iPhone. It’s the 10th anniversary of the smartphone introducing the touchscreen era, so Apple should have surprises in store.

One of those could be a curved touchscreen. According to The Wall Street Journal, the curved screen is among several prototypes Apple requested from suppliers for the next iPhone. Apple could unveil an iPhone with curved screen as soon as next year.

The report says Apple could ditch the curved screen because it’s among several prototypes being considered for the next iPhone.

The curved smartphone screen is nothing new. Samsung introduced the feature on both its Galaxy Note and S lines, where a portion of the screen bends over the side of the device. Other smartphone makers including LG also boast devices with a curved display.

Designer Veniamin Geskin has been imagining curved iPhones for quite a while. Here his iPhone 8 concept is seen in a YouTube video. Photo: YouTube / conceptsiphone

Last quarter, Apple reported its first annual decline in sales in more than a decade as shipments of its flagship product continued to fall. In September, Apple launched the iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. The company said it would not release opening weekend numbers for the device’s launch, unlike previous years.

According to 9to5Mac, KGI analyst Ming-Chi Kuo said this month that shipments of the iPhone had peaked for the year and suppliers would see a drop in orders.

Enter next year’s iPhone, which could help Apple spark a rebound because of the 10th anniversary. Last month, Nikkei Asian Review reported Apple will launch three iPhone models next year, all with glass backs instead of aluminum.

USA TODAY

ACCC’s draft decision on Apple Pay case rejects banks claim for NFC access and collective bargaining

APPLE seems set to win its battle against Australia’s banks with the ACCC issuing a draft determination that supports the Apple case in its fight against Australia’s big banks.

The ACCC has been considering a claim by a group of Australia’s major banks which want two things: the right to negotiate with Apple as a group rather than individual banks in how Apple Pay will be offered to their customers and access to the NFC (near-field communication) sensor in the iPhone which is used in paying with Apple Pay.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued the draft determination, with chairman Rod Sims calling it “currently a finely balanced decision”.

“The ACCC is not currently satisfied that the likely benefits from the proposed conduct outweigh the likely detriments,” he said.

“While the ACCC accepts that the opportunity for the banks to collectively negotiate and boycott would place them in a better bargaining position with Apple, the benefits are currently uncertain and may be limited.”

The banks have demanded access to the NFC (near-field communication) controller in iPhones, which Apple has rejected saying that to open it up to financial institutions would impact on the security of the system.

The banks also sought to remove restrictions by Apple on the banks to pass on fees for the use of Apple Pay to customers.

In the draft decision, the ACCC argues that Apple’s insistence on keeping the NFC sensor in iPhones locked to Apple Pay did not prevent banks from launching their own mobile wallet systems.

“Banks can already offer competing digital wallets on iPhones without direct access to NFC, through their own apps using Apple Pay payment technology, or using NFC tags. Banks can also offer digital wallets on the Android platform,” Mr Sims said.

“Digital wallets and mobile payments are in their infancy and subject to rapid change. In Australia, consumers are used to making tap and go payments with payment cards, which provide a very quick and convenient way to pay. It is therefore uncertain how competition may develop with the availability of mobile payments and possible future innovations.”

The ACCC said that mobile wallets like Apple Pay and other non-banking payment systems could be “a disruptive technology” that would promote competition between banks because it would allow for consumers to easily switch from one bank to another while still using the same digital payment system.

ANZ is the only big four Australian bank that has launched Apple Pay.

ANZ is the only big four Australian bank that has launched Apple Pay.Source:Supplied

The ACCC is seeking submissions in its draft determination before making a final decision. It is expected to release its final decision in March next year.

Lance Blockely, speaking today on behalf of the four banks making the claim — Bendigo and Adelaide Bank, Commonwealth Bank, National Australia Bank and Westpac — said the banks were committed to pursuing a successful outcome despite the draft decision.

“If the draft determination of the Australian competition regulator stands, effectively there will be no competition against Apple for mobile payments on the iPhone,” he said.

“The application has never been about preventing Apple Pay from coming to Australia or reducing competition between wallets. It has always been about providing consumer choice and innovation.

“Many organisations supported our application with their own submissions, across major retailers, fintech companies and card schemes, and we encourage them to respond to the draft determination with further submissions during the consultation period. The applicants are confident that the proposal would have real benefits and would avoid the detriments of Apple’s conduct, and look forward to the opportunity to provide that evidence to the ACCC.

“Whilst we are disappointed with this draft result, our application is not just relevant to Australia — the same issues around consumer choice and the freedom to offer genuine competition against Apple Pay arise globally.”

Apple Pay lets customers store a range of cards on their phone which the ACCC says could be a win for consumers.

Apple Pay lets customers store a range of cards on their phone which the ACCC says could be a win for consumers.Source:Supplied

In its submission to the ACCC, Apple called the Australian banks making the claim “among the most profitable financial institutions in the world”.

Apple argued that all 3000 banks around the world using Apple Pay did not hit customers with a surcharge and in Australia customers were not charged transaction fees for other mobile wallets including the applicant banks’ own mobile payment apps.

“Authorisation of a cartel among the applicant banks who control access to two-thirds of all cardholders in Australia would result in significant consumer harm and perpetuate the oligopolistic banking market conditions described recently by the Chair of the Commission,” Apple said in its submission.

 

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