Episode 558 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

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Telstra to compensate 42,000 customers with slow NBN

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said that limitations of the national network’s fibre-to-the-node and fibre-to-the-building services meant that customers that had purchased internet plans advertised with maximum download speeds of up to 100Mbps and upload speeds up to 40Mbps were not actually able to achieve those speeds in real-world scenarios.

The ACCC said that 26,497, or 56 percent, of Telstra customers with FTTN connections that purchased 100/40Mbps plans could not achieve those speeds, and 9606 of those customers couldn’t achieve the next tier down of 50/20Mbps either.

“In essence, people were paying more to get higher speeds that they just weren’t able to get,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Telstra will now check each customer’s attainable speed within four weeks of connecting new services, and will offer a remedy if speeds are below advertised.

We will continue to investigate other retail service providers selling broadband plans over the NBN and take enforcement action where appropriate,” accc said.

 

An Optus spokeswoman confirmed to the ABC that the company is “working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission” and has provided the consumer watchdog with detailed information and data it requested.

Amazon is allowed to undercut Australian retailers

Competition laws will allow Amazon to undercut local businesses with loss-making prices when it opens for business in Australia, expected to be later in November, the Australian competition regulator has said.

Australian Competition & Consumer Commission chairman Rod Sims said that Amazon.com was able under law to set prices low enough to win business without breaching competition laws.

Amazon has declined to comment on when its Australian operations will begin.

TPG fined $360k by ACMA for spamming customers who have opted out

for not properly unsubscribing customers who have opted out of receiving marketing materials.

An ACMA investigation found through customer complaints that TPG breached the Spam Act 2003, finding that the telco did not properly unsubscribe requests in April this year.  “Consumers have a right to expect that their requests to unsubscribe from marketing messages will be respected,’ said ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin.

Commercial electronic messages must not be sent without the consent of the account holder.”

TripAdvisor icon will identify hotels where sexual assault occurred

TripAdvisor has begun placing symbols next to hotels and resorts that have been identified as locations of sexual assault and other major concerns.

Based on news reports as well as comments from the TripAdvisor community, the warnings are designed to identify health, safety and discrimination issues in all of the website’s travel categories, said a company spokesman, Kevin Carter.

“These badges will remain on TripAdvisor for up to three months. However, if the issues persist we may extend the duration of the badge,” he said. “These badges are intended to be informative, not punitive.”

Decisions to add or remove a badge will be made by an employee committee, he said. Listings will not be removed from the TripAdvisor website regardless of the number of complaints. “We want consumers to see good and bad reviews of businesses,” Carter said. Comments from users will continue to be posted on the site.

TripAdvisor issued a public apology a week ago to Kristie Love, 35, of Dallas, after The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported that TripAdvisor had repeatedly deleted her 2010 forum post about the Paraiso Maya resort, where she said she had been raped by a security guard.

The health, safety and discrimination badge is the third that TripAdvisor is using to mark businesses with potential concerns. A badge is used to identify a listing that may be violating posting guidelines; for instance, by putting up fake reviews. Another badge is used to note when TripAdvisor freezes reviews during major news events where posts may not reflect the opinions of actual guests. That was used next to the Mandalay Bay listing in Las Vegas last month after a gunman killed 59 people and injured more than 500.

 

iPhone users fume over letter ‘i’ bug

Some iPhone users have been left frustrated after an update to the iOS operating system started inexplicably auto-correcting the letter “i” to a capital “a” and a question mark.

The affected version of iOS, 11.1, is available on iPhones and iPads.

Apple has described a temporary fix for the problem on its website.

The fix involves editing the keyboard settings in iOS so that the right character, either an upper or lower case “i”, is used.

Apple has said the issue will be fixed in a future software update.

Not all iOS 11.1 users have been affected, though there are plenty of comments online from those who say they have experienced the problem.

Australia cockatoos chew billion-dollar broadband

 

The National Broadband Network (NBN) company said it has spent tens of thousands of dollars so far fixing cables chewed by the birds.

Australian broadband is already criticised for being slow. Accordi

 

sites have found spare cables chewed and frayed. The culprits are cockatoos, a type of parrot which normally eats fruit, nuts, wood and bark.

NBN has had to replace power and fibre cables at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars each time. So far, they say, they have spent A$80,000

 

Foxtel Now launches its own streaming device with free-to-air access and Chromecast

The $99 ‘puck’ will mean audiences can now access Foxtel programming, as well as local free-to-air channels and other subscription services without having to switch between inputs.

“For the first time, Australians can watch Foxtel on their TV with a Foxtel designed set top box that is completely powered by the internet offering a no lock-in contract, affordable and flexible way to see Foxtel’s exclusive content both locally produced and from the world’s best entertainment brands. Self-installation is easy removing the need for a technician. Simply bring the box home and sign up to Foxtel Now to start watching.”

the box runs on android TV

mean users have access to a host of content, apps and games form the Google Play store, where they can rent or buy movies, shows, movies and more,

The box will allow subscribers of Stan and other Chromecast-compatible streaming services to access their subscriptions easily, with Mr Tonagh confirming Foxtel was currently in talks with Netflix about doing the same for its customers.

The Foxtel Now box can be ordered online. Kogan Online and other retailers will offer it for sale next year

 

JASON

Internet service providers to refund NBN customers or face litigation, says ACCC

THE country’s consumer watchdog has put internet service providers on notice, saying NBN customers should expect refund offers in the near future.

The boss of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, Rod Sims, has fired a warning shot at retail service providers like Optus and TPG saying if they don’t work to refund customers who paid for unattainable speeds, they can expect litigation.

Certain telcos have been accused of knowingly selling packages to customers on fibre-to-the-node NBN connections that were incapable of providing the top tier speeds of 100 Mbps, or even 50 Mbps.

“We’ve been warning [ISPs] for some time that we were concerned about this kind of behaviour,”

“Optus were more engaging publicly than they were with us,” Mr Sims said. “They were saying things in public about what they will do, we will start engaging with them right now.

“I think most of the other ISPs are in a similar position but you think given those statements, Optus should have no problem providing a similar undertaking [to Telstra].”

As part of the submission to the ACCC, Telstra said when connecting customers in the future it will perform a test to check if the end-user can reach the download speeds they purchased.

“This is crucial,” Mr Sims said. “They’ve undertaken that when they activate new customers they will check to see whether the customer can get the speeds they’ve been sold and if they can’t they will quickly remedy the situation.”

Mr Sims said once this is in place across the industry it will put an end to the blame game between NBN Co. and the telcos.

“If you can’t get, for example, 25Mbps on your service you’ll be almost certain it’s because the retailer didn’t buy enough capacity” from the NBN, he said.

“This goes a long way to ending the finger pointing so we know where the problems lie in the future.”

Most of the customers eligible for a refund will likely be connected to the NBN via the most common fibre-to-the-node connection.

“Fibre-to-the-node has difficulty supporting 100 Mbps or 50 Mbps, but 98 per cent of the time it can support 25 Mbps,” Mr Sims said.

“So it’s very likely that if you’re on a 25Mbps, even if it’s fibre-to-the-node, if you’re having problems it’s very likely your retailer hasn’t bought enough capacity from the NBN.”

 

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/nbn/internet-service-providers-to-refund-nbn-customers-or-face-litigation-says-accc/news-story/b70c51a21d1a476cb5574ac25650fe2a

LONG before Drake was a powerhouse rapper, he famously got his start for his role as Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi: The Next Generation.

Now Apple is hoping the Canadian rap superstar can channel his younger actor days to help the tech giant continue its push into the world of film and television streaming.

The company is planning to spend billions on video content in the next few years and one of Apple’s top executives, Jimmy Iovine, said Drake has the “go-ahead” to produce whatever shows or movies he wants using these funds.

Drake already has strong connections to the company, with the rapper being one of the few non-Apple executives to receive major stage time when he introduced the Apple Music app at a developer conference in 2015.

Vice president of media apps and content at Apple Music Robert Kondrk said Drake has already been one of the companies most valuable partners, with his most recent album Views being the first to exceed one billion plays on the service.

“Drake almost single-handedly helped us become culturally relevant from the day we launched [in 2015],” he told The Hollywood Reporter.

Jimmy Iovine shared similar sentiments for the rap star.

“If I had a company today, I would give it to Drake and Future to run in a minute. They’re incredibly talented guys. Very, very gifted,” he said.

Earlier this year, Apple said it committed $A1.2 billion to procure and produce its own original content in 2018.

The budget falls well short of the $A7.5 billion Netflix spent this year, but according to the people familiar with the plan, Apple plans to acquire and produce as many as 10 television shows, reported The Wall Street Journal.

Comparatively, the amount is about half of what HBO spent on content last year and on par with estimates of what Amazon spent when it announced its move to original programming in 2013.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/home-entertainment/tv/apple-has-given-a-blank-cheque-to-drake-to-create-whatever-film-and-movies-he-wants/news-story/bb7250faa1f87e44bdc5333be38ebd9e

A DRIVERLESS shuttle bus has crashed less than two hours after it was launched in Las Vegas.

Officials had hosted an unveiling ceremony to promote what they described as the USA’s first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared toward the public.

But not long after it was launched police were called to the scene of a crash between the self-operating vehicle and a semi-truck.

Police say the crash blocked traffic near the Fremont Street entertainment district.

Las Vegas police cited the driver of the semi-truck. Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez said the citation was for illegal backing.

Police said no injuries were reported in the crash.

Ocampo-Gomez said one of the semi-truck’s tires tapped the front bumper of the bus but that the shuttle doesn’t have any dents.

City spokesman Jace Radke said the shuttle stopped when it sensed the truck was approaching, but the truck didn’t stop. Radke says the shuttle took two more loops after the crash.

The autonomous electric vehicle was developed by the French company Navya. The oval-shaped shuttle that can transport up to 12 passengers has an attendant and computer monitor, but no steering wheel and no brake pedals.

It uses GPS, electronic curb sensors and other technology to make its way.

Before it crashed, dozens of people had lined up in downtown Las Vegas to get a free ride.

http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/driverless-shuttle-bus-crashes-less-than-two-hours-after-launch-in-las-vegas/news-story/9a689e470e2f49372909d7212e4a4c0e

 

Optus is the best fixed-line internet service provider (ISP) in Australia for download speeds overall, while Telstra is the best during peak-hour times, when network congestion is at its highest.

Meanwhile, Telstra is the best for mobile data speeds overall, including during peak-hour.

That’s according to speed testing data from the second and third quarters of this year from Ookla, which operates speedtest.net, one of the internet’s most popular speed testing tools.

For fixed-line broadband, Optus came out on top overall as the “fastest” provider with an average download speed of 24.12 Mbps and average upload of 8.48 Mbps. It was followed by Telstra, TPG, iiNet, and iPrimus. During peak hour (7-11 pm), however, Telstra came out as the winner, with average download speeds of 21.96 Mbps and upload speeds of 7.70 Mbps

For mobile, Telstra came out on top for speeds overall, followed by Vodafone and then Optus. Telstra averaged download speeds of 44.20 Mbps and upload speeds of 14.32 Mbps.

Meanwhile, mobile mapping company OpenSignal said in its latest State of LTE report released last week, covering January 1 until March 31, that Australia ranked 19th in the world for 4G mobile availability (with 79.26 per cent availability) and 10th for 4G download speeds (33.76 Mbps on average on all carriers). OpenSignal’s 4G availability tracks how often 4G subscribers in a country have access to a 4G signal.

Wollongong No.1 for fixed-line broadband

In the Ookla testing, Wollongong came out on top for the best fixed-line speeds in Australia overall, with the speed testing company giving it a “speed score” of 94.31 out of 100 (speed score incorporates overall network speed performance for both download and upload speed). Average download speeds in Wollongong were 33.72 Mbps, with an average upload speed of 19.78 Mbps upload. ISP MyRepublic was classed as “fastest” in the area.

Geelong came in next, with a speed score of 94.26, followed by The Gold Coast and Newcastle.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/revealed-the-fastest-telcos-and-cities-in-australia-for-broadband-20171108-gzhmyb.html

 

 

A survey by venture capital firm Blockchain Capital found that about 30 percent of those in the 18-to-34 age range would rather own $1,000 worth of Bitcoin than $1,000 of government bonds or stocks. The study of more than 2,000 people found that 42 percent of millennials are at least somewhat familiar with bitcoin, compared with 15 percent among those ages 65 and up. Bitcoin rose more than 6 percent Wednesday to as much as $7,545, helping to push the value of the total cryptocurrency market above $200 billion for the first time, according to CoinMarketcap. The digital asset has soared more than 600 percent this year, compared with gains of 15 percent for the S&P 500 Index — which might explain millennials’ attraction.

 

 

https://yro.slashdot.org/story/17/11/08/1916236/nearly-a-third-of-millennials-say-theyd-rather-own-bitcoin-than-stocks

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‘$300m in cryptocurrency’ accidentally lost forever due to bug

User mistakenly takes control of hundreds of wallets containing cryptocurrency Ether, destroying them in a panic while trying to give them back

More than $300m of cryptocurrency has been lost after a series of bugs in a popular digital wallet service led one curious developer to accidentally take control of and then lock up the funds, according to reports.

Unlike most cryptocurrency hacks, however, the money wasn’t deliberately taken: it was effectively destroyed by accident. The lost money was in the form of Ether, the tradable currency that fuels the Ethereum distributed app platform, and was kept in digital multi-signature wallets built by a developer called Parity. These wallets require more than one user to enter their key before funds can be transferred.

On Tuesday Parity revealed that, while fixing a bug that let hackers steal $32m out of few multi-signature wallets, it had inadvertently left a second flaw in its systems that allowed one user to become the sole owner of every single multi-signature wallet.

The user, “devops199”, triggered the flaw apparently by accident. When they realised what they had done, they attempted to undo the damage by deleting the code which had transferred ownership of the funds. Rather than returning the money, however, that simply locked all the funds in those multisignature wallets permanently, with no way to access them.

“This means that currently no funds can be moved out of the multi-sig wallets,” Parity says in a security advisory.

Effectively, a user accidentally stole hundreds of wallets simultaneously, and then set them on fire in a panic while trying to give them back.

“We are analysing the situation and will release an update with further details shortly,” Parity told users.

 

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2017/nov/08/cryptocurrency-300m-dollars-stolen-bug-ether

 

MILO

Twitter’s iconic 140 character limit for tweets is no more. In a move that could affect which ideas you can express on the platform, the amount of scrolling you have to do on your Twitter app and the political policies set by the President of the United States, the company has today announced that 280 characters is the new standard for all users.

The change, which will roll out to all users tweeting in English and most other languages, doubles the maximum length of every tweet, but Twitter says a recent test o”We — and many of you — were concerned that timelines may fill up with 280 character Tweets, and people with the new limit would always use up the whole space”, said Twitter product manager Aliza Rosen in a blog post. “But that didn’t happen”.

According to data from the test, there was an initial spike in character count as users with the expanded limit enjoyed the novelty, but soon after the behaviour “normalised”. Over the course of the test, only 5 per cent of tweets sent were longer than 140 characters, and only two per cent were over 190.

if the new limit showed the platform will maintain its brevity.

 

So why make the change in the first place? Twitter says “cramming” is an issue that affects most languages, where certain ideas are unable to be expressed in 140 characters because of the length of some words. The result is that users spend too much time trying to edit their tweets down, or abandon them altogether. Other languages, like Japanese, Korean and Chinese, don’t have this problem and will keep the 140 character limit.

Twitter says that historically 9 per cent of tweets in English have hit the 140 character limit, indicating the user has probably had a hard time squeezing their thought into its constraints. During the 280 character test, only one per cent of tweets hit the limit and many tweets stayed below 100 characters, as can be seen in the graph above.

“In addition to more Tweeting, people who had more room to Tweet received more engagement (Likes, Retweets, @mentions), got more followers, and spent more time on Twitter”, Ms Rozen said.

“People in the experiment told us that a higher character limit made them feel more satisfied with how they expressed themselves on Twitter, their ability to find good content, and Twitter overall”.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/web-culture/tweet-longer-twitter-officially-moves-to-a-280-character-limit-20171107-gzgvnh.html

 

A QUIRKY bug in Apple’s latest operating system has left customers pulling their hair out.

Those affected by the strange iOS 11.1 glitch have been forced to be a little less egocentric because their device inexplicably started auto-correcting the letter ‘i’ to an upper case ‘a’ and a ‘?’.

Apple released the iOS 11.1 update for its iPhone and iPad last week.

The word ‘I’ is actually the tenth most common word in the English language so having it removed from your repertoire when you’re texting makes life a little difficult.

News website Quartz’s technology reporter, Mike Murphy, was one of the first to voice his frustration over not being able to refer to himself in the first person.

“I have a $1150 [$A1495] telephone that can’t read the letter ‘i’,” he wrote on Twitter, clearly seeing the funny side of things.

Plenty of other Apple customers also took to social media to complain about the problem.

 

It’s unclear how many users are affected but Apple admitted the bug is affecting keyboards on iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch that have been updated to the latest operating software.

The company has been quick to set up a dedicated support page for the issue, giving people a temporary work around.

“Here’s what you can do to work around the issue until it’s fixed in a future software update,” Apple said.

Go to Settings > General > Keyboard > Text Replacement. From there tap the + in the top right hand corner.

For the Phrase, type an upper-case ‘I’ and for the Shortcut type a lower-case ‘i’. According to Apple, that should do the trick.

Alternatively, you could also turn off predictive text and/or autocorrect until Apple releases an update for iOS11.1

 

http://www.news.com.au/technology/gadgets/mobile-phones/apple-fans-fume-over-frustrating-ios-111-keyboard-glitch/news-story/2df437f79d27a37383b4f3acc44519ac

Wearables: Headphones that measure your heart rate

An Australian start-up is taking on the difficult fitness wearables market from a unique new angle. Co-founded by Dr Sven Rees, formerly of the NSW Institute of Sport, the BioConnected HR+ looks like yet another pair of sport-focussed Bluetooth headphones, but inside is highly accurate heart rate monitor ,An Australian start-up is taking on the difficult fitness wearables market from a unique new angle. Co-founded by Dr Sven Rees, formerly of the NSW Institute of Sport, the BioConnected HR+ looks like yet another pair of sport-focussed Bluetooth headphones, but inside is highly accurate heart rate monitor.Heart rate data is collected from an optical sensor built into the earpiece. Rees believes this gives his headphones a distinct advantage over other fitness trackers. “Traditionally, if you’ve wanted high accuracy in a heart rate tracker, you needed something strapped to your chest,” he said.”These can be bulky and uncomfortable, and not something for the casual runner.” That’s why consumer fitness trackers are usually of the wrist-wearing variety. But the wrist presents its own challenges.

“I looked at every wrist-based device there was, and most were fine at rest, but were inaccurate with exercise,” he said.  “The wrist is physiologically the hardest spot on the body to get clean measurements.”Rees said this is due to the “motion and movement artefacts” that can confuse the data recorded by the sensors. By contrast, the ear remains relatively stable through most exercise, and the skin is thinner so it’s easier for the optical sensors to see through, hence the more accurate readings. And from a marketing perspective, the BioConnected HR+ headphones are fighting for space in a less established fitness space, not having to compete for your wrists with Apple Watch or Fitbit.I’ve only taken the pair for a few quick walks around the park, so I can’t vouch for the device’s superior accuracy. Wearing an Apple Watch and Fitbit at the same time, there was not a lot of difference between the heart-rate readings of each – they all confirmed I’m incredibly unfit.Sound quality is quite good – nothing mind-blowing, just clear, well balanced audio. There’s also none of the the Bluetooth lag or stuffer found in cheaper devices, as you’d hope for a pair of $279 headphones. The BioConnected HR+ is a chatty thing. It will tell you your average pace and current heart rate, and it looks like a voice-coaching assistant is part of the long-term plan to sell services on top of the hardware. The voice is not as natural sounding as Siri or Google’s Assistant, but for the quick motivation it’ll do.There’s also no on-board storage in these headphones, or the ability to stream music directly to them, so you’ll still need to take your smartphone or watch with you.There’s definitely a first generation feel to the hardware. The plastic body is extremely light, yet still a little bulky, and the buds took some twisting and turning to fit snugly in my ear. They just don’t feel as comfortable or as well-engineered as my current recommendations – Beats X for iPhone users, and the Jaybird Freedom for Android runners.

That first generation feel extends to the iOS-only software. The accompanying app is bare-boned, giving you data collected in a utilitarian design, with none of the spit and polish of Fitbit. There’s limited connectivity to Strava and MapMyRun, allowing you to sync the heart rate data to the exercises captured by your phone.

Over all, I found myself more interested in BioConnected the company, the scrappy Australian start-up, than I was in the product. It seems smart to sidestep Apple’s Watch and focus on headphones, a product runners will always want with them. In some ways, this feels like the product Fitbit should have made, a simple, peripheral fitness device that doesn’t need to compete with smart-watches.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/wearables-headphones-that-measure-your-heart-rate-20171031-gzca39.htmlhttp://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/wearables-headphones-that-measure-your-heart-rate-20171031-gzca39.html

 

Driverless crash

 

A DRIVERLESS shuttle bus has crashed less than two hours after it was launched in Las Vegas.

Officials had hosted an unveiling ceremony to promote what they described as the USA’s first self-driving shuttle pilot project geared toward the public.

But not long after it was launched police were called to the scene of a crash between the self-operating vehicle and a semi-truck.

Police say the crash blocked traffic near the Fremont Street entertainment district.

Las Vegas police cited the driver of the semi-truck. Officer Aden Ocampo-Gomez said the citation was for illegal backing.

Police said no injuries were reported in the crash.

Ocampo-Gomez said one of the semi-truck’s tires tapped the front bumper of the bus but that the shuttle doesn’t have any dents.

City spokesman Jace Radke said the shuttle stopped when it sensed the truck was approaching, but the truck didn’t stop. Radke says the shuttle took two more loops after the crash.

The autonomous electric vehicle was developed by the French company Navya. The oval-shaped shuttle that can transport up to 12 passengers has an attendant and computer monitor, but no steering wheel and no brake pedals.

It uses GPS, electronic curb sensors and other technology to make its way.

Before it crashed, dozens of people had lined up in downtown Las Vegas to get a free ride.

 

http://www.news.com.au/technology/innovation/motoring/driverless-shuttle-bus-crashes-less-than-two-hours-after-launch-in-las-vegas/news-story/9a689e470e2f49372909d7212e4a4c0e

 

Optus joins Telstra in offering compensation to customers for slow NBN speeds

INTERNET speeds over the National Broadband Network could soon improve as retailers are now buying more bandwidth, the competition watchdog says.

Providers acquired more of what is called Connectivity Virtual Circuit (CVC) in September than they did in June, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission said in its latest report on the NBN.

ACCC chairman Rod Sims said adequate CVC is essential for households and businesses to get the speeds they are promised, and the watchdog is closely monitoring how much CVC is being bought and used.

“This report provides a clear indication of the level of competition developing over the NBN,”The news came after Optus the latest telco to offer compensation to customers for slow NBN speeds.

The telecommunications giant admitted today some of its customers may have been overcharged because they were not delivered the National Broadband speeds they were promised.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said.

An Optus spokeswoman confirmed to the ABC that the company is “working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission” and has provided the consumer watchdog with detailed information and data it requested.

“We are examining the detail of the announcement by the ACCC, but can confirm that Optus is taking action to provide appropriate remedies to those customers where it has been confirmed that the underlying NBN service cannot deliver the speed they signed up for,” the spokeswoman told the ABC.

“Optus is considering a range of measures for customers depending on their individual circumstances.”

Yesterday in a press release announcing Telstra’s move, Mr Sims said telcos not delivering on promised NBN speeds was an “industry problem where consumers are not getting the speeds they are paying for”.

The telcos have pointed the failure to deliver promised speeds to NBN copper wire access, mainly for fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) and fibre-to-the-building (FTTB) connections.

“Our investigation revealed many of Telstra’s FTTN and FTTB customers could not receive the maximum speed of their plan. Even worse, many of these customers could not receive the maximum speed of a lower-speed plan,” Mr Sims said.

“We expect RSPs to provide consumers with accurate information upfront about the internet speeds they can expect to receive, and then deliver on those promises.”

Telstra had notified the ACCC of some issues, but not all, relating to affected customers, which were then uncovered by the investigation.

Mr Sims said another issue was where speed could be delivered technically but the RSP had not purchased enough capacity from the NBN to provide the speeds which it is advertising, including at peak times.

“To address this second problem of under provisioning, the ACCC is urging all ISPs to advertise the typical speeds customers can expect in the busy evening period between 7pm and 11pm,” he said.

Telstra said it will contact customers affected over the coming weeks.

If Telstra customers have a concern the ACCC has urged them to contact the telco giant directly.

Likewise with Optus customers.

 

http://www.news.com.au/technology/online/nbn/optus-joins-telstra-in-offering-compensation-to-customers-for-slow-nbn-speeds/news-story/9105e0636b4b235a91f31425d14f2965

 

Re:scam will reply to scam emails using an AI chatbot that will waste the time of cyber criminals

IF you get annoyed by those endless scam emails, there is now a free service that offers a hilarious and ingenious solution to deal with them once and for all.

IS THERE anything more annoying than getting one of those scam emails asking for your details so you claim the hundreds of thousands of dollars left to you from a passing relative?

From bank customers being sent a fake notification telling them their ‘payment was unsuccessful’ to fraudulent Netflix account suspension alerts, email phishing scams are constantly bombarding our email accounts.

Thankfully most email scam attempts are easy to detect and can be quickly avoided.

But what if there was a way to troll the scammers who had just tried to make you their victim?

Enter Re:scam — an artificially intelligent email bot made to reply to scam emails, created by not-for-profit organisation Netsafe.

“I adopt one of my many personalities to continue the conversations of any would-be victim,” explained the organisation’s website.

“I waste their time with a never-ending series of questions and anecdotes so that they have less time to pursue real people.

“Just like you, I mqke [sic] typos and jokes that no one appreciates. I’m super interested, a bit naive … I just have a few questions to ask.”

The free service works by getting people to forward their suspected emails to the organisation, who will complete a check to confirm the email is a scam.

When confirmed, a proxy email address is used to flood the inbox of would-be cyber criminals from the AI chatbot who is pretending to be a vulnerable target.

Once you have forwarded the email nothing else is required on your part, but Re:scam said the more emails you send through, the more effective they will be at wasting the time of crooks.

The organisation also assures it keeps none of your personal details, so you don’t have to worry about that.

 

http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/revealed-the-fastest-telcos-and-cities-in-australia-for-broadband-20171108-gzhmyb.html

 

Facebook wants nude photos from Australian users – for a good reason

 

Facebook’s latest attempt to wipe revenge porn off its platform: asking users to send their own nude photos.

The Australian government’s Office of the eSafety Commissioner announced it is joining a pilot program with Facebook to prevent intimate images of users from appearing against their will on the social network’s platform.

Facebook’s latest attempt to wipe revenge porn off its platform: asking users to send their own nude photos.

The Australian government’s Office of the eSafety Commissioner announced it is joining a pilot program with Facebook to prevent intimate images of users from appearing against their will on the social network’s platform.

 

According to the eSafety Office, if a Facebook user in Australia is concerned about an intimate image spreading online, they fill out a form, then send the image to themselves using Messenger.

Once Facebook is notified, they use image-matching technology to prevent anyone from sharing it on their platforms.

“This partnership gives Australians a unique opportunity to proactively inoculate themselves from future image-based abuse by coming to our portal and reporting tool,” said Julie Inman Grant, Australia’s eSafety CommiThe limited pilot program is available in three other countries: the US, UK, and Canada.

In April, Facebook detailed plans to fight revenge porn, including an artificial intelligence tool capable of matching photos to prevent them from appearing on platforms like Messenger or Instagram.

“These tools, developed in partnership with global safety experts, are one example of how we’re using new technology to keep people safe and prevent harm,” said Antigone Davis, Facebook’s head of global safety, in a statement.

According to Australia’s eSafety office, one in five Australians has faced image-based abuse, where an intimate photo has been posted to social media without their consent.

“This pilot has the potential to disable the control and power perpetrators hold over victims, particularly in cases of ex-partner retribution and sextortion, and the subsequent harm that could come to them,” said Inman Grant.

Two years ago, Twitter and Reddit cracked down on revenge porn, banning the practice on both platforms.

 

Revealed: the fastest telcos and cities in Australia for broadband

Optus is the best fixed-line internet service provider (ISP) in Australia for download speeds overall, while Telstra is the best during peak-hour times, when network congestion is at its highest.

Meanwhile, Telstra is the best for mobile data speeds overall, including during peak-hour.

That’s according to speed testing data from the second and third quarters of this year from Ookla, which operates speedtest.net, one of the internet’s most popular speed testing tools.

For fixed-line broadband, Optus came out on top overall as the “fastest” provider with an average download speed of 24.12 Mbps and average upload of 8.48 Mbps. It was followed by Telstra, TPG, iiNet, and iPrimus. During peak hour (7-11 pm), however, Telstra came out as the winner, with average download speeds of 21.96 Mbps and upload speeds of 7.70 Mbps.

For mobile, Telstra came out on top for speeds overall, followed by Vodafone and then Optus. Telstra averaged download speeds of 44.20 Mbps and upload speeds of 14.32 Mbps.

Meanwhile, mobile mapping company OpenSignal said in its latest State of LTE report released last week, covering January 1 until March 31, that Australia ranked 19th in the world for 4G mobile availability (with 79.26 per cent availability) and 10th for 4G download speeds (33.76 Mbps on average on all carriers). OpenSignal’s 4G availability tracks how often 4G subscribers in a country have access to a 4G signal.

Wollongong No.1 for fixed-line broadband

In the Ookla testing, Wollongong came out on top for the best fixed-line speeds in Australia overall, with the speed testing company giving it a “speed score” of 94.31 out of 100 (speed score incorporates overall network speed performance for both download and upload speed). Average download speeds in Wollongong were 33.72 Mbps, with an average upload speed of 19.78 Mbps upload. ISP MyRepublic was classed as “fastest” in the area.

 

For fixed-line broadband, Ookla ranked Australia 56th in the world for average download speeds overall (24.12 Mbps), between Guam and the United Arab Emirates, and 73rd for average upload speeds (8.48)   between Croatia and Fiji.

 

Mobile faster than fixed in reality

Of particular note from the report was that Speedtest.net data showed fixed-line broadband speeds were significantly slower than mobile speeds in Australia. Specifically, the mean download speed over fixed broadband was 45.4 per cent slower than over mobile. Meanwhile, upload speeds on fixed broadband were 40.8 per cent slower than those on mobile.

Ookla said it was intriguing that speeds varied by ISP in Australia, as they should theoretically be consistent across all providers who are on the national broadband network. One possible explanation is the fee ISPs are charged by NBN Co per megabit, which critics within telcos say is too high and should be reduced because it acts as a tax on bandwidth, driving down uptake of faster speeds.

Another factor is the mix of access technology, with some areas being served by ADSL, dial-up, HFC, a variety of fibre architectures — from fibre to the node (FTTN) and fibre to the basement to fibre to the premises (FTTP). Meanwhile, people outside the NBN fibre network are served by a combination of fixed wireless and satellite.

Optus and Telstra are likely to be ahead in fixed-line speeds because they have the advantage of having access to the HFC cable network, which helps boost their average download speeds. Meanwhile, TPG has been rolling out a fibre to the basement network that has helped increase its speeds.

Another reason speeds vary so much between carriers is because some telcos attract customers at the lower end of the market who wish to purchase only 12 Mbps download speeds and 1 Mbps upload speeds.

Telcos respond

Telstra said it was pleased Ookla had confirmed the telco had the fastest mobile network.

“We recently engaged Systemics to conduct an independent benchmarking survey of the three mobile networks, and after driving 41,000 kilometres around Australia making calls and using data they found Telstra was the leading national provider,” a Telstra spokesperson said.

While Ookla was one of the more established tests, Telstra said there were still limitations to the accuracy of aggregate third-party measurements given issues with sample size and geographic spread.

“The results can be especially problematic on the fixed network given the different mix of technologies involved,” the spokesperson said. “Also these sorts of tests do not provide an overall view of what customers value, such as coverage, support for video streaming and new capabilities such as our support for the internet of things.”

Meanwhile, an Optus said the company was pleased the Ookla report showed that it offered the fastest fixed broadband internet speeds overall in Australia, “particularly given the significant rise in streaming services”.

“We will continue to roll out 4.5G network technology to select capital cities which will result in customers’ experiencing significant improvements in data speeds,” a spokesperson said.

They added that it was important to take “a holistic view of a carrier’s network which should also include network coverage — including regional and remote towns — and also voice performance”.

A Vodafone spokeswoman said it was encouraging to see the Ookla results “while our network continues to evolve and meet the needs of our customers as their usage habits change and grow over time”.

Asked if any of the mobile providers prioritised speed tests over other data in order to game results, a Telstra spokesman gave a firm “no” while Optus said it did not do this either. Vodafone did not answer the question.

Nicholas Demos, MyRepublic’s ANZ managing director, said the results were a great indicator of the growing education in the local market since the provider’s launch less than a year ago.

“There has been a shift in the Australian internet landscape and MyRepublic congratulates Ookla for this survey that provides the public with detailed information on ISP performance by city. This will help provide much-needed guidance to the end customer in what is a cluttered market,” he said.

A spokeswoman for Vocus Group, which owns iPriumus, said Vocus had recently been reviewing its NBN services following the issuance of the guidance on broadband speeds from the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

“This review has included determining the best approach that ensures customers are provided with clear information about the maximum attainable speeds that they can expect to receive, and the expected performance of their service during peak periods,” the spokeswoman said.

“Once we complete our review we will provide the necessary information to consumers, and will offer appropriate remedies for customers who are not capable of achieving the maximum attainable speed of their plan.”

It’s understood that the Vocus consumer business has historically operated in the cost-conscious end of the market, and therefore has a high proportion of customers on the lowest NBN speed tier (12Mbps/1Mbps plan).

Ookla said it would be interesting to see if the “rapid on-boarding of homes to the national broadband network” and the 2018 addition of G.fast technology to the NBN mix, would “markedly improve performance” or whether consumers and ISPs would opt for slower tiers of service.

Regarding mobile broadband, Ookla said Australia’s fast mobile broadband was likely to get faster, with all three top carriers working to improve their networks.

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