Episode 569 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes

Major reform agenda for Australia’s .au domain launched for discussion

most significant changes” to the country-code top-level domain for thirty years.

reforms include the option for .au domain name holders to drop .com, .org or equivalents from their web addresses. auDA is also proposing the use of non-ASCII characters like Arabic, Cyrillic, or Chinese language characters to be allowed.

“The .au domain increases trust, which can, in turn, facilitate positive economic and community activity. When internet users both here and overseas see the .au domain they associate it with Australia’s secure and stable environment.” spekesman for auda(.au Domain Admin)

Apple pays largest Australian tax bill in years

Apple’s statutory 30 percent tax bill of $76.6 million was compounded by a number of additional tax expenses, adding up to a total income tax expense of $183 million for 2017.

$8 billion in local revenue for the first time.

local headcount also jumped in 2017, up more than 6 percent from 3729 people

Hangry and ransomware added to Oxford English Dictionary

Mansplaining, ransomware and hangry are among more than 1,000 words that have been added to the latest Oxford English Dictionary


Microsoft disables ‘buggy’ Intel patch

Microsoft said its update for Windows 7, 8.1 and 10 disabled Intel’s buggy patch and stopped the rebooting issue.

Two separate security flaws, known as Meltdown and Spectre, were publicly disclosed in January.

Microsoft said there were no known reports of the security issue being used to attack computers.

YouTube caught out by coin-mining adverts

The adverts included computer code that helped them mine the Monero crypto-currency.


The gangs are keen to get malicious code on lots of computers because most crypto-currencies rely on large networks of machines to verify transactions and generate new coins. The more machines working for them, the more coins they can extract.

“Attackers abused Google’s DoubleClick, which develops and provides internet ad serving services, for traffic distribution,” said the researchers.

On victims’ machines, when the mining script was triggered it would use 80% of the computer’s processing power to generate coins.

Indian rideshare platform Ola announces Australian launch to challenge Uber


Ola, an Indian ride-sharing company with more that 125 million users in its home country, has announced plans to launch in Australia this year.

Founded in 2011, it currently operates in more than 110 Indian cities, has a network of more than a million driver-partners and claims to serve “as many as a billion rides annually” through its platform.

One point of difference in India is that Ola has expanded to encompass many travel types beyond private cars, including auto rickshaws and car rentals. It also recently rolled out a dockless bike-sharing system, and a connected car platform that allows riders to interact with the in-car entertainment systems of their cabs.

Ola is calling for expressions of interest from drivers in Sydney, Melbourne and Perth.

Uber rival Taxify offers half-price fares for Melbourne launch on Thursday

Taxify, now operating in 23 countries, is launching in Melbourne, promising passengers capped surge charges and better pay for drivers.

More than 10,000 Melbourne drivers have already registered with the Estonian company, lured by its offer to charge a 15 per cent commission. Rival Uber charges a 20 to 25 per cent commission on each fare.

Taxify launched in Sydney before Christmas,


Brisbane Airport retailers to accept crypto coins

The airport’s owner quietly announced last week that it had struck a deal with a Brisbane-based start-up called TravelbyBit.

TravelbyBit – which received $88,070 from Advance Queensland’s ‘Ignite’ commercialisation assistance fund – provides a way for merchants to accept payments in Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, Dash and Steem.

“Although customers pay in digital currencies like Bitcoin, the merchants can choose to receive payment in Bitcoin, fiat currency, or a combination,” TravelbyBit said on its website.

It appears to have signed on at least 10 retailers to accept crypto payments, including cafes and restaurants, souvenir shops and newsagents.






THEY’RE some of the most secretive and clandestine places in the world, but they could be threatened by something as simple as fitness tracking app Strava.

Data published by Strava, which markets itself as a social network for amateur athletes using fitness tracking apps, has been shown to potentially reveal the location of secret US military bases.

The company’s app allows people to track their workouts and share them online. In November, the company released a series of online data visualisation maps which showed all the activity tracked by users of its app between 2015 and September 2017.

The maps which include Australia and the United States show every single activity ever uploaded to the Strava app. According to the company that amounts to more than 3 trillion individual GPS data points.

The problem is, some of it could be rather sensitive information.

Over the weekend Nathan Ruser, an analyst with the Institute for United Conflict Analysts, pointed out that while the “maps look pretty,” they included US military bases which were “clearly identifiable and mappable,” he wrote on Twitter.

“If soldiers use the app like normal people do, by turning it on tracking when they go to do exercise, it could be especially dangerous,” he added.

Mr Ruser, 20, who is currently studying international security at ANU, shared a number of images which purport to reveal FOBs (forward operating bases — commonly used to support tactical operations) established by Western countries.


TELSTRA customers in three north Brisbane suburbs will not be able to use their phones, even to call triple-0, for up to ten days.

Residents in Gaythorne, Mitchelton and Everton Park residents were sent text messages saying they could lose service from 6am to 6pm weekdays as Telstra switches off its mobile base station in the area.

The outage is a result of building works at Brookside Shopping Centre in Mitchelton, requiring Telstra to shut down parts of its “mobile infrastructure” on the shopping centre’s roof while works are carried out.

This means customers will be unable to make or receive calls or texts on their mobile phone.

Telstra area general manager May Boisen said the outage could also affect customers wishing to contact emergency services.

“Customers may have difficulty calling triple-0 on a mobile device in the impacted areas, as customers’ devices will not be able to access the other operators’ mobile networks for triple-0 calls,” Ms Boisen said.

Services will be disrupted from Tuesday to February 9 in Gaythorne, from February 12 to February 22 in Mitchelton and from February 23 to March 7 in Everton Park.

Telstra will deploy a temporary Cell on Wheels at Mitchelton and provide free calls and Wi-Fi at its payphones in those areas, to minimise the impact.


When Shendon and Simon Ewans’ retired father clicked a link on a fraudulent bill that was emailed to him, and then became infected with malware that cleared out his bank account to the tune of $8300, his sons knew there had to be a way to prevent it from happening in the future.

Having already built a platform to ensure people paid bills on time in order to avoid late fees and secure on-time payment discounts, the two siblings put their heads together to devise a plan to conquer the problem their father had fallen victim to.

A former advisor in innovation and commercialisation for the University of Melbourne and National ICT Australia (now CSIRO Data61), Shendon — along with his brother Simon and co-founder Quentin Marsh — have just recently put the finishing touches on their start-up, Gobbill.

Their system lets customers forward all of their bills to the service, which then checks for fraudulent and suspicious bills and ensures that payments are made on time. Due diligence checks are done in this process before any funds are transferred to target organisations. The purpose of such checks — which weed out “spoofed”, or faked, email addresses and corroborate the identity behind billing details, among other steps — is to protect customers from paying fake bills or invoices.

Gobbill is free for consumers, while small businesses are charged a fee.






Telstra has decided to kill the smart TV features in its ageing T-Box video recorders, leaving long-time customers fuming as they begin the search for a new set-top box to rule the lounge room.

The T-Box also offered online movie rentals from Bigpond Movies, along with access to a handful of Bigpond’s streaming channels. Over time, Catch Up TV and streaming Foxtel channels were added to turn the T-Box into a entertainment all-rounder.

Telstra is finally ending support for the T-Box at the end of March, planning to disable all of its streaming video apps with a firmware update and cancel any remaining Foxtel on T-Box subscriptions.

Crippled apps and services will include Foxtel on T-Box, BigPond Movies on T-Box, SBS On Demand, Plus7, YouTube, AFL, NRL and Tune-In. The My Media app for playing files from USB storage or across a home network will also be removed, plus the T-Box Remote Application will be pulled from the Google Play and iTunes app stores.

The T-Box will retain the ability to watch and record free-to-air digital television, but only with access to a basic onscreen Electronic Program Guide.

The decision to deliberately cripple the T-Box’s smart TV features has sparked a backlash on Telstra’s forums, with Telstra pushing unhappy customers towards the Telstra TV 2 puck or Foxtel’s iQ3 PVR which can record both free-to-air and pay TV. The iQ3 is available as part of a Foxtel from Telstra package which is more expensive than Foxtel on T-Box.

Meanwhile Optus is pulling the plug on its Optus TV featuring Foxtel service as it shuts down its HFC cable network as part of the NBN rollout, with Foxtel offering special deals for homes which have been kicked off Optus cable.

If you don’t want to subscribe to Foxtel the best PVR is the Australian-made Fetch TV Mighty. It’s available from several internet providers as part of a bundle, but it’s also possible to buy one outright and use it with any ISP including Telstra. You must buy your Fetch TV box through Optus if you want to watch its English Premier League service.