Episode 593 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes





The videos from Terry’s  fix it fast electronics helped me fix my laser printer

Phone numbers lost in NBN migrations

Between July and December 2017, the TIO received 661 complaints from both small business and residential consumers about telephone number problems relating to services delivered over the NBN.

Noticing a pattern aligning with the rate of the NBN rollout, the TIO wrote to 23 retail service providers (RSPs), requesting information about number loss and complaints, with 20 of the 23 responding


Reasons identified that fall on customer responsibility included customers not applying to migrate to the NBN  prior to their existing network being shut off, incorrect number transfer details being supplied during migration and cancellation of services prior to the completion of the NBN connection.


Reasons arising from provider error included staff and system errors, existing providers cutting off service prior to an NBN connection being established with a new provider, and complexity of NBN connections requiring interaction with the copper network.  


The ombudsman also found upon review of NBN service order processes that there was noticeable variation between provider order forms, with several assuming consumers would want new phone numbers, with some forms even having a pre-ticked “new number” option.

Another form required consumers to enter the number they wished to retain at the top of the form and provided no further opportunity to indicate they wished to keep it. One form simply didn’t ask if the customer wanted to keep their number.

The TIO has handed down four recommendations to RSPs towards reducing the occurrence and impact of number loss during NBN migration, including requiring customers to opt-out of keeping their existing numbers, instead of opting in, providing clear advice to consumers around retaining their number, ensuring consumers are aware of switch off dates in their areas and enhancing communications with customers.


Google cops A$6.8 billion fine from EU over Android practices

The Commission announced the record fine as a response to Google “breaching EU antitrust rules” by imposing “illegal restrictions” on Android device makers and mobile network operators, allegedly aimed at bolstering Google’s search engine.

The practices have been going on since 2011, the Commission said. Among the practices under scrutiny are a requirement that device makers pre-install Google’s search app and Chrome browser app, in exchange for being able to include access to the Google Play Store on devices, according to the Commission.

he Commission said that Google must “bring the conduct effectively to an end within 90 days” or face additional penalties of up to 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily revenues.


Today, because of Android, there are more than 24,000 devices, at every price point, from more than 1300 different brands,” Google said.

“The phones made by these companies are all different, but have one thing in common—the ability to run the same applications. This is possible thanks to simple rules that ensure technical compatibility, no matter what the size or shape of the device,”. “No phone maker is even obliged to sign up to these rules—they can use or modify Android in any way they want, just as Amazon has done with its Fire tablets and TV sticks.”

Additionally, Pichai suggested that Google may begin to charge device makers for using Android if the European Commission decision is allowed to stand.


If phone makers and mobile network operators couldn’t include our apps on their wide range of devices, it would upset the balance of the Android ecosystem,” Pichai said. “So far, the Android business model has meant that we haven’t had to charge phone makers for our technology, or depend on a tightly controlled distribution model.”

However, he added, “we are concerned that today’s decision will upset the careful balance that we have struck with Android, and that it sends a troubling signal in favour of proprietary systems over open platforms.”

Earlier punishments include:

  • fines totalling €3.8bn against several truck-makers accused of price collusion, which were imposed in July 2016 and September 2017
  • the €2.24bn fine against Google for promoting its own shopping comparison service at the top of its search results, which was announced in June 2017
  • two fines totalling €1.46bn against Microsoft related to the bundling of its Explorer browser with Windows, and failing to keep a pledge to provide users with a choice of other browsers. The two penalties were announced in February 2008 and March 2013
  • a €1.35bn collective fine against several car glass producers, which had been accused of illegally sharing commercially sensitive information. This was made in November 2008
  • a €1.06bn fine against Intel, which was accused of offering discounts to computer-makers that avoided rivals’ computer chips. It was announced in May 2009
  • a €997m fine against Qualcomm, which was penalised over claims it had paid Apple to use its chips. This was announced in January 2018


Microsoft takes fight to Slack with free version of Teams

The new free version of Teams is available from today for businesses with up to 300 users, and features unlimited chat and searches, audio and video calls, 10 GB of team file storage and another 2 GB per user for personal storage.


It also provides access and integrations with the online version of Office 365 applications, including Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote, along with more than 140 third-party application integration with the likes of Adobe, Evernote, Github and Trello.


Microsoft said at the time that it had opened up the API set for Teams to allow partners to develop connectors for their customers’ applications to integrate into the platform, which was taken up early by the likes of ServiceNow, SAP and Twitter.


3D-printed gun blueprints given go-ahead by US government


The first printed firearm was made in 2013. Files showing how to replicate the process were then put online and downloaded more than 100,000 times.

The US government ordered them to be removed shortly afterwards.

It argued that the files violated the International Traffic in Arms Regulation, which governs what military materials can be exported.


Defense Distributed joined forces with the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) – set up in 1974 to defend the right to own guns – to sue the State Department over the clampdown.

The US Justice Department has now said that Americans may “access, discuss, use and reproduce” the technical data.


The CAD (computer-aided design) files would go back online on 1 August, said Defense Distributed on its website, which also announced: “The age of the downloadable gun formally begins.”

Critics argue that the decision will result in a rise in so-called ghost guns – unregistered weapons created without government knowledge.


Amazon’s Jeff Bezos beats Bill Gates in new rich list


Jeff Bezos’s net worth has increased by over $60bn in the last 12 months, which makes him the world’s richest man.

This places his worth higher than that of Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, who has previously topped the rich lists – even at his peak in 1999.

Then Mr Gates was worth $100bn – which would be around $149bn today, when adjusted for inflation.

Mr Gates is currently in second place with a worth of $95bn, having given away 700 million Microsoft shares and $2.9bn in cash since 1996.

Mr Bezos says he is selling about $1bn of Amazon stock every year to fund Blue Origin, the project he has founded to develop commercial space travel.

NBN Co asks $11k per premises in area switch upgrade

NBN Co biggest area switch quote in the past two years was to a “business” applicant on the NSW central coast, coming in at $11,156 per premises.


An area switch is one of two options available to people unhappy with the type of connection they have been given under the NBN.


The quote, for a multi-dwelling unit (MDU) complex in Tuggerah on the NSW central coast, was to upgrade connections from fibre-to-the-node (FTTN) to fibre-to-the-premises (FTTP).

“The cost per premises was high due to the distance from the node,” NBN Co said.


It did not say whether the applicant had signed off, nor how many premises were in the complex.


Figures released last month show that less than one percent of “area switch” applicants actually approve their quotes and do the upgrade.


While the $11,156 cost per premises quoted for one area switch is “high”, NBN Co said that the lowest per premises cost quoted last year was $840 in Mooloolaba in Queensland.

However, it noted “this was lower as it was for a conversion from FTTN to FTTB.”