Episode 514 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


Ovo Mobile offers $9.95 plans designed for kids on Optus 4G network

The “hero offer” costs less than $2.50 a week and, according to Ovo Mobile, has no lock-in contracts, $200 worth of calls, 1GB of data, data free streaming of OVO content, unlimited texts and free membership to Family Zone, allowing parents remote supervision of their child’s mobile phone.

Family Zone allows parents the power to block adult-rated or unrated content, and also notifies them if unsuitable content is being viewed.

Ovo Mobile uses Optus 4G plus networks and this offer is only available for pre-paid services.

OVO Mobile CEO Matt Jones said. hildren are getting a mobile phone at a much younger age each year, currently it is 10 in Australia, but we’re likely to follow the UK where most six-year-olds have a smartphone,

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Apple starts selling AirPod headphones after two-month delay

wireless AirPod headphones were now available through its website

delivery of AirPods would start next week along with sales at Apple Stores, Apple-authorised resellers and select carriers.

priced at $229

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ATO website outage blamed on HPE 3PAR storage problem

(Hewlett Packard Enterprise

Tier 1 all-flash array data storage that can scale midsize to the largest enterprises and service providers, for instant application provisioning and high levels of service


Early on Monday morning the ATO advised th1at its online portals, digital services and website were offline following an unspecified “hardware issue”.

The ATO confirmed to iTnews that the issue was triggered by the catastrophic collapse of a hardware storage solution provided by HPE. It is understood the ATO acquired two new HPE 3PAR SANs late last year.

The collapse of the SAN caused the loss of 1PB of data.

The issue was compounded by the failure of back-up systems, which did not kick in immediately following the initial outage: iTnews understands the data corruption issues from the primary SAN were replicated onto the second SAN.

The ATO is currently in the process of rebuilding both and restoring from back-up

The tax office emphasised that no sensitive taxpayer data had been compromised.

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Apple now lets customers schedule servicing directly with Australian resellers

Apple has quietly expanded its support services to include Australian partners when customers use the “bring in for repair” function on its website.

Previously this only directed customers to Apple Stores, and has now several authorised service providers listed for repairs including iPhones, Macs and iPads.

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Google will be 100% renewable powered by next year

it will run its offices and vast data centres 100 percent on renewable resources.

While this doesn’t mean that solar and wind power will directly power every single server in Google’s machine, it does mean that the company will purchase as much renewable energy as it uses electricity each year.

while wind and solar had been the cheapest options up to 2017, Google is looking at investing over the next 10 years in other forms of low-carbon power, including hydro, biomass and nuclear. With the latter, they noted that the nuclear option is “controversial”, but that he didn’t want to rule it out if an agreement “meets our goals of low price, safety, additionality and in a sufficiently close grid”.

ATO reveals 2014-15 tax bills for Apple, Microsoft, Google, Telstra, IBM and more

Vendors that turned a profit yet did not pay tax include $3.6 billion-turnover IBM Australia and New Zealand, which had a taxable income of $49.3 million but paid zero tax, Schneider Electric, which saw taxable income of $32.5 million, Atlassian, whose taxable income was $34.6 million, and Citrix, a taxable income of $11.1 million.

Other global tech companies failed to pay tax because they did not generate profits: these included Acer, Hewlett Packard, NEC and Vodafone

Apple, which has been much-scrutinised over its tax policy, paid a 30 percent tax rate of $146.3 million on taxable income of $488 million. However, the iPhone maker’s total income was $8.3 billion, reprenting a gross profit margin of under 6 percent for what is understood to be one of the world’s most profitable companies.

Google paid an 11 percent tax rate: $12.2 million on a taxable income $106.1 million. The search giant’s total income was $438 million.

Microsoft’s total income was $679 million, its taxable income was $111.1 million and it paid $33.3 million in tax, hitting Australia’s 30 percent tax rate.

Telstra’s total income was $25.7 billion, its taxable income was $6 billion and it paid $1.7 billion in taxes – by far the biggest tax bill of any ICT company on the list.

Optus parent Singapore Telecom (Singtel) posted $8.9 billion in total income, $962.6 million in taxable income and paid $263.5 million in tax for 2014-15.

The full list can be downloaded here.

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‘One billion’ affected by Yahoo hack

Yahoo has said more than one billion user accounts may have been affected in a hacking attack dating back to 2013.

Yahoo said names, phone numbers, passwords and email addresses were stolen, but not bank and payment data.

The company, which is being taken over by Verizon, said it was working closely with the police and authorities.

Yahoo said it “believes an unauthorised third party, in August 2013, stole data associated with more than one billion user accounts”.

Account users were urged to change their passwords and security questions.

The California-based company has more than a billion monthly active users, although many people have multiple accounts. There are also many accounts that are little used or dormant.

Yahoo phone

The Pirate Bay must be blocked in Australia, court rules

Australian internet providers must block file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, the nation’s Federal Court has ruled.

The website, founded in Sweden, is arguably the world’s best-known hub for downloading pirated content.

It and four other copyright-infringing sites – Torrentz, TorrentHound, IsoHunt and SolarMovie – must be blocked within 15 days, the court said on Thursday.

The case was a victory for pay television operator Foxtel and media company Village Roadshow.

The judge agreed with internet service providers including Telstra, Optus, TPG and M2 that rights holders should pay the cost of blocking the websites.

How they are blocked is up to the service providers.

The operators of the websites did not appear at the hearing, and were not represented.

“This judgement is a major step in both directly combating piracy and educating these sites is not OK, in fact it is theft,” Foxtel CEO Peter Tonagh said in a statement.

The case is the first successful use of site-blocking laws in Australia.

The Pirate Bay

Man spends stolen $1m on Game of War

A man from California, pleaded guilty to fraudulently using company credit cards to steal the money.

Court documents reveal he spent about $1m of the embezzled funds on Game of War, one of the world’s highest grossing mobile games.

Players buy gold and other in-game credits to help build their empires.

Over the course of nearly seven years, he used the company card to buy luxury cars, as well as season tickets to NFL team the San Francisco 49ers, and basketball team the Sacramento Kings.

Other items included plastic surgery, home furniture and golf course membership, according to a copy of his plea agreement obtained by tech news site Ars Technica.

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Apple tackles calendar spam with ‘report junk’ button

Apple is tackling an outbreak of spam on iPhone calendars by introducing a button that lets users report the junk appointments.

The messages appear as invitations to events but are sent by spammers not the brands they feature.

The “report junk” button has been added to Apple’s iCloud.com site and is expected to be included in an iOS update soon.

Clearing out the bogus messages was frustrating because deleting the invitation sent an acknowledgement to the spammer it came from, revealing that an account was live.

Some people reported that declining an invitation led to them receiving more spam from the same source.

The spam invitations appear to come mainly from Chinese email addresses.

Until iOS is updated, anyone wishing to tackle the spam on their calendar must visit iCloud.com and click to report the faked messages.

The invitation will then disappear from all synched calendars.

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Minecraft blocks used to make virtual Atari 2600 console

A YouTuber has recreated the Atari 2600 games console – by building a virtual version of the device’s hardware out of Minecraft blocks.

The ones and zeroes used by computers as the basis for all programming are represented by alternating blocks – either dirt or stone.

However, the emulator is too slow to actually be playable – a single game could take months.

Mr Bling’s console comprises a giant screen, which gradually updates as the game animates, and a huge field of blocks that form the virtual console’s memory.

He has also designed game cartridges for Donkey Kong, Space Invaders and Pac Man – in the form of huge Minecraft blocks that are scanned as though being read by the original hardware.

Two thousand command blocks – which can perform operations on other blocks – form the system’s processor. They manipulate blocks in the memory just like a physical processor operates on data in a computer.

But the processor works very slowly, drawing frames to the screen 60 times every four hours. The original console ran at 60 frames per second.



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