The holiday season is upon us yet again, and as we down tools and prepare to indulge in that once a year family fun day, which traditionally reminds you why you only do it once a year, it's nice to know that escapism is only a short drive away, and this year the big screen has really come of age.
In these digital days more and more cinemas are install digital theatres, and more and more films are being released in digital 3D, so would it surprise you that the image you see in the new whizz bang digital cinema is in fact originating from a hard drive or media server and not from film? That's right, what your watching is more or less very high definition television projected onto a large screen with a sound system that any die hard home movie buff would sell his family into slavery to have!
Yes, 35 and 70mm film is slowly loosing it's cinematic strangle hold that it's had since nitrate film caught fire way back in the very first cinemas when sound was just a dream.
Feature film cameras have almost done away with film too, with the latest Panavision camera heads equipped with Sony High Definition SR recording decks – yes these record on half inch videotape, and Red's new hard drive based camera systems. There is a trade off – some of the new movies look so crisp and clean that they almost look too good.
JJ Abrams made the latest Star Trek incarnation using film because that was the look and style he was after, where most of the new films, live in the realm of the digital world. James Cameron's film Avatar, which debuts December 18, is probably one of the most technically advance productions in cinematic history. Because its origins are digital, 3D is now just par for the course.
When Cameron revived the Avatar project in 2005, it seemed the techniques required to achieve his vision were right around the corner. At that time there was still concern that the characters would not appear quite real, and would suffer from the disturbing "dead eye" effect seen in some early performance capture films. Cameron's team sought to go far beyond prior efforts, to ensure the complete reality of the characters. To do this, they developed a new "image-based facial performance capture" system, using a head-rig camera to accurately record the smallest nuances of the actors' facial performances. Instead of using the motion capture technique of placing reflective markers on the actors' faces to capture their expressions, the actors wore special headgear, not unlike a football helmet, to which a tiny camera was attached. The rig faced towards the actors' faces and the camera recorded facial expression and muscle movements to a degree never before possible. Most importantly, the camera recorded eye movement, which had not been the case with prior systems. (www.iesb.net)
Most people are familiar with Standard Def and High Def television. It's what we have right now in our living rooms, but few people know that television capture and production continues above SD and HD TV to formats know as 2K and 4K. 2K and 4K are recorded on Sony HDSR equipment but it's still digital video.
So what we're seeing this holiday season, is an explosion of 3D digital films in Digital Cinemas. Village, Hoyts and even the independent cinema operators all have at least one digital cinema in most of their complexes, and this will become the norm very soon with the old film based projectors very much on the way out. What we're seeing in cinema right now is what we saw happen to CDs and records back in the 80s. And just when you thought it was safe to go out and buy a nice brand new flat screen panel for the living room, manufacturers like Sony and Panasonic will soon start rolling out 3D TVs to allow the 3D experience to flow from the cinema to the living room.
Don't take my word on the new look cinema, experience it for yourself, but be sure to immerse yourself properly. This holiday season, take a trip to you local IMAX theatre. After all, seeing and hearing IS believing.
The internet has been with us for many years now and wouldn't you think that everyone would know how to use a search engine by now? Well strange as it may seem, as Google cracks the decade, there are still people about, some even in the Tech Talk office that still don't understand how search engines work. To this day, I'm still lost as to why some people insist on typing a URL into the Google search box instead of the address bar at the top of the browse. All that aside, Hitwise is a company which monitors what people do online. They don't know who you are, they just know what you do, and in their recent report on the searching and browsing habits of Australian internet users, there are some interesting changes in the way Australians find things online. The question on the tip of everyone's tongues… Are social media sites replacing search engines?
According to Hitwise, in 2009, Australian have spent more and more time on social media websites and the category has grown by 25% compared to 2008. Search engines are still the most visited sites with 12.8% of all site visited, followed by social media with 11.8%, Portal & front page with 5.1% and email services with 5.1%
The use of search engines is still growing up about 8.6%, but social media are planned to take over especially during the Christmas season. Australia is one of the nation that use search engines most followed by the US and the UK.
As for market share, Google is still dominating the search landscape with over 87.1 % of market share. Bing has grown to 4.7% from 4.1% compared to 2008, while Yahoo remains stable with around 2.3% but how has our search behavior evolved in recent times? The most significant change is the rise of brand related searches. 14.22% of searches are brand related. Compared to 2006 (8.75%), branded searches have increased by 62.5 %.
Most of the top 20 searches in Google are brand names or brand related phrases. The most popular brands are social media, followed by online based brands (ebay, seek, hotmail). Only few traditional brands are making it to the top 20. Search engine users have also refined their way of searching. Long tail keywords are getting more and more popular.
- 1 word searches: 18.6% have decreased by 5.3% compared to 2008
- 2 words searches: 28.6% have also decreased compared to 2008
- 3 words searches: 24.2% have increased
- 4 words searches: 14.3 % have increased too
- 5 words searches: 14.3 % have increased by 2.2 % compared to 2008
Interestingly Bing is still heavily relying on 1 to 2 words search terms rather than Google tends to generate longer phrases.
One of the most amazing facts is the contribution of paid search against the traffic to all websites in Australia. According to Hitwise's data, paid search contributed to only 4.8% of website traffic. Such figure strongly re-enforce the need to focus on SEO, which should generate most of your traffic.
This week on TTR
Adam looks under the hood of the new and improved TiVo
Google analytics declared illegal in Germany and
Telstra asks for volunteers to clean exchanges
Sydney Apple software developer receives Apple legal threats and a rare personal email from Apple CEO Steve Jobs.
A few months back on Tech Talk Radio, in May to be precise, we spoke of the upgrade to Telstra's HFC cable, that's the coax cable which lives underground in your street, that would allow the incumbent to supply 100Mb data streams to the average suburban house, and it seems the prophecy has come true with Telstra announcing availability from
December 1 this year, and also with the launch of its new high definition set top box.
Currently the HFC provides internet up to 30MBs and Pay TV provider Foxtel. DOCSIS 3 is the new technology which underpins the leap forward in speed, and it should be noted that Optus are now upgrading their network not wanting to fall too far behind the competition.
On November 19, Telstra's group managing directors, Michael Rocca, Holly Kramer and Glenice Maclellan gathered in Melbourne for the unveiling and preview of Telstra's "new high definition set top box" and according to the press release, Melbourne will become home to Australia's fastest cable broadband network after the completion of an upgrade of the hybrid fibre coaxial broadband network offering an ultra fast, multi-user experience.
From 1 December nearly one million Melbourne homes will benefit from the upgrade to the cable network. The network download capacity increases to up to 100Mbps and the upload capacity to up to 2Mbps, offering an increase in bandwidth to share across multiple users and devices within the household. There is even headroom in the system to double the bandwidth to 200MBs per second.
Telstra also revealed the new television set top box – strangely named T-Box has two digital television tuners and has the ability to view and record free to air television programs up to seven days in advance, the ability to pause and rewind live television and naturally seamlessly integrates access to Telstra BigPond internet content such as BigPond TV channels and the BigPond Movies download rental service.
Now at face value you've got to ask why Telstra want to compete directly with the jointly owned Foxtel, and why they want to ruffle the Federal Government's feathers when it comes to the National Broadband Network. It should be noted that the HFC services is a city centric service, so households outside the major metro areas won't see this speed in broadband until the NBN passes their front door. Even then, everything the Telcos claim when it comes to speed has to be taken with a grain of salt, so chances are, the 100Mb/s is a theoretical value, but seeing will be believing in December this year.
At the end of the day, Maybe Telstra's just fattening up the retail cow in preparation for sending it to market.
This week on TTR
Adam checks out some power monkeys
Google Chrome OS 60-times smaller than
Windows and we have a sneak preview,
Not wanting to be left out, Optus to upgrade HFC in Sydney, Melbourne, & Brisbane.
The ACCC puts Microsoft on notice for misleading Advertising and...
Optus will begin trials of long term evolution or '4G' mobile technology in the first half of next year as part of a coordinated regional test by its parent SingTel.
If you're family is like mine, that is you have young children who just love watching the same movie over and over and over again, but don't yet know about the care and maintenance of DVD media, then maybe it's time to invest in a device which servers movies of a computer at the push of a button.
One thing that's blatantly obvious is when it comes to technology, nothing is ever as simple as it first appears, and connecting a computer to a TV is no different, but things have become a little easier in recent times, and the investment in setup time and cash has also diminished. So if you're looking to streamline the viewing of electronic media in the living room, then this could be a good holiday project over the next few months.
Last week I picked up a Western Digital TV Live box from the local white goods retailer. This sub $200 purchase caught my eye because at first glance it had everything thing I needed – HDMI, High Definition, fie serving and network connectivity both wireless and Ethernet. How good's this I thought to myself, and for the price, I was prepared to take on the risk that it just may not perform as I had hoped. It even supports external USB devices and has two ports.
Taking electricity for granted, the two most important connections you need close by to you home entertainment system is a coax point for the TV antenna, and Ethernet. Some of today's modern TVs and Bluray players need internet access to extend range of content on offer. In fact, my home entertainment system has its own gigabit switch – decadent? Not really. Overkill? Definitely not.
I successfully connected my WDTV live box into the network using a spare port on the hub, and the HDMI cable straight into the TV, and guess what, it worked straight out of the box. Within moments of turning the device on, it had connected into the home domain and internet, and I was successfully watching an Avatar trailer in full HD which I'd downloaded of the Apple site earlier. How easy was that! The WDTV live box also has a built in Youtube and Flikr viewer, so after frustratingly keying the words “Monty Python” in on the on screen keyboard, the family was whistling along to “Always look at the bright side of life” within seconds of clicking search.
In the next few weeks I'll assess the WAF (Wife Acceptability Factor), as well as how well the kids take to it. It's relatively simple to navigate your way around the device, but that's for someone like me, and first impressions are very good. It was easy to set up and easy to operate, now to find a good DVD ripping package and find out what bugs lie hidden in version 1.0 software. Maybe finally I've seen the last of the scratched DVDs that are all too readily found buried in the strangest places around the house.
This week on TTR
It's time to re visit email again – to pop or not to pop, that's the question.
Microsoft denies Windows 7 was modeled on Mac OS.
Twitter suspends its retweet service and
We look at syncing devices such as Apples iPhone for free.
We're on the down hill run of 2009, and only a month and a bit away until the end of the first decade of the century. Gee doesn't time fly. If you were to stop and look back on the gadgets and technology available at the time, some aspects of technology, such as digital cameras and television have advanced leaps and bounds, on the other hand others, like broadband in Australia – well let's just say there's a hell of a lot of mosquitoes about at the moment.
About now, most of us can see the light at the end of the 2009 tunnel, especially from the beer garden at the local, but this leads to that perplexing time of the year, Christmas, and what to buy for those near and dear to us, and in a lot of cases, ourselves. Come on, we all buy ourselves a new gadget or something and call it a Christmas presents from yourself!
So here's a few tech talk suggestions to help fill the stocking this year. First up, let's look at the world of computing. Who wouldn't love to receive an affordable netbook. If you've got 300 to 700 dollars to spare, this will fit the gap between phone and laptop. (maybe this could be your Christmas present to yourself). These devices would be great for checking out what's on from the comfort of the hammock or holiday villa, or something to keep you entertained on the next long haul flight.
The ultimate cinematic Christmas experience is in town this year with the release of James Cameron's sci-fi thriller Avatar. For about $24 per adult ticket at iMax, the 3D spectacle will be something to behold and no doubt memorable.
If you're into home theatre and looking to buy a flat screen for the living room, be sure to spend as much as you are comfortable to. If you're after 32” and above please don't buy the sub $1000 panels as you'll be sadly disappointed in quality especially when it comes to movement across detailed images. If you can justify it, and let's face it, a large screen TV purchase should be looking at 10 years of life, buy a decent, well known brand, and be sure to check out the difference Sony's motion flow technology has on sporting events if that's your liking.
If you do go down the new flat screen option or you already have one, this Christmas is a good time to embrace Bluray.
Players are reasonably priced in the $200 range and the discs themselves are now comparable in price if not a few sheckles more than DVDs. The benefit is truly visible on a quality high definition TV and chances are, you won't look back. The good news is that your existing DVDs will play quite nicely in your bluray player, so maybe it's time to upgrade the living room and pass on the old well loved DVD player to the kids room. Oh, and of course, this Christmas, you can't go past giving the new Star Trek 3 Disc Bluray, but if you're like me, that'll be a Christmas present for yourself.
Another gadget to consider is a new MP3 player for a loved one. Believe it or not, the apple range of players and devices have recently come of age, and there's something in everyone's price range. Devices start at $70 and work their way up based on features and capacity. Ultimately there's the iPhone 3GS, the top of the line media player with a built in phone, then you'll spend hours reorganizing all those CDs that have been sitting on the shelf for years.
Another Christmas project requiring a gift is updating the wireless connectivity in your home. Make sure you add a high speed wireless access point or router to the list such as the new Dlink wireless 150 routers. This device supports the new 802.11n standard, which is the fastest wireless speed available. If you're looking to transfer large files across your home network or stream video, then the extra speed makes all the difference.
And finally this week the ultimate gift to buy that special person in your life, something that they would not normally buy themselves – a digital picture frame. These have really come of age these days, they can sense when there's someone close buy and turn themselves on, they can even connect to your Flickr account online and download shared images that you put up online. Why not create a private family Flickr account and get everyone in the family to upload the favourite photos to it. Then each time you walk past your photo frame, you're bound to be in for a big surprise.
This week on TTR
Adam looks at Logitech's attitude to stripping features from Harmony remote controls
Steve Jobs name executive of the decade.
There a patches and fixes a-plenty from all the majors this week and
The hidden agenda behind the EU's three strike Pier to Pier (P2P) disconnection proposal and what it means to Australia. Be afraid....
Technology is supposed to make our lives easier and on the whole it has, we now have the technology and gadgets to keep us in touch and in control wherever we may be on the planet. The problem in today's modern connected world is which company to choose to allow us to connect. Today we buy a computer, pda, netbook, laptop, or mobile phone and it's ours to own and to do with what wee wish - a common sense approach to consumerism, but what good is a device like this if it can't be on line?
It's at this point that most consumers glaze over and head off into the great unknown with the sole intention of becoming connected but at the same time not getting ripped off by telecommunications providers. Before the internet and mobile phones came along, getting a phone company to connect you to the local telephone exchange was easy. You paid line rental, and 20 odd cents per local call, and a timed call for long distance. That was it - simple and easy to understand. Today, such simplicity has long gone. Caps, bundles, shaping and contracts are now a part of buying our telecommunications requirements, and all are responsible for eroding the true value of what we're paying for.
Imagine going into your favourite butcher and asking for a kilo of sausages, but instead of being asked for $7.99, being told that your now on a cap, and for $49 a month, you could get up to $350 worth of meat, but as soon as you exceeded the $350 cap, you were slugged a couple of hundred bucks a kilo for your excess consumption. Man, what a deal!
It's ridiculous, just ask any butcher, but that's what we all do when it comes to buying our telephony and broadband offerings from ISPs and Telcos. Instead of buying buy the kilo, we buy by the Megabyte. So why is it so?
This type of packaging erodes the value of the product being purchased, and the longer we buy it, the longer we think we're getting value for money. The wholesale price of telecommunications is ridiculously cheap compare to that of a decade or so ago. We can get so much more up the same piece of copper or fibre than we could back then, so for telcos to slowly erase the per call or per Megabyte cost into a bundle or cap and hide it from the consumer is a stroke of genius on their behalf, giving them the ability to fatten their bottom line and pay their executives salaries that could remove poverty for some small developing counties.
Let's do the maths, keeping in mind the telcos are not in the business of going broke. Take one of 3's $49 caps. From the three website you get $590 worth of call value AND a handset thrown in for zero dollars for the $49 investment. Sounds pretty good doesn't it. Oh, it's not free, just zero dollars. What's the difference? Well free infers that it's not costing you anything, so obviously it is costing you something, just the marketing guy's can get away with $0 where as the can't with free. Now looking at 3's rate card, their call cost is 35c per 30 seconds obviously 70c per minute which means $590 equals 842 minutes of talk time which their offering to you for $49. Divide 842 by 49 and the call rate is 6 cents per minute. Add to this your handset repayments and they're reaping 4 or 5 cents per minute of your hard earned cash and no doubt still making a good profit. Food for thought eh?
Next time you sign up for a mobile contract, ask them if you can buy the phone outright and then get a call rate of say 4 or 5 cents per 30 seconds. So in the utopian world of buying data by the Megabyte it makes good sense. Doesn't it?
This week on TTR
Adam looks at eBooks and digital readers
According to Telstra, there's cheaper broadband on the way,
Like South Africa, Australian pigeons are much faster than the local internet speeds,
CSIRO wifi developer John O'Sullivan wins the Prime Ministers science prize, and
Channel 72 is here, but what of the ABC's new kids channel ABC 3?
Our in studio Guest this week is Sally Cockburn, also known as Dr Feelgood. From 1993, her 6 years as host of top rating national radio talk back sex and relationships program "Pillowtalk" on the Austereo Network gathered her a loyal following all over Australia due to her down to earth, practical advice on matters of the heart and body, and tonight she reveals her tech life and style.
October 22 2009, Microsoft entered the next phase of it's evolutionary process with the launch of it's Windows 7 operating system. Steel reeling from the fall out and bad press over Widows 7's predecessor Vista, Microsoft seems to be copping a bit of flak over the pricing of Windows 7 especially here in Australia, and especially the upgrade price for those keen to migrate from Vista.
Australian customers will have fork out almost double the US price for some versions of Microsoft's new Windows 7 operating system.
Microsoft cited taxes, freight costs and currency fluctuations as key reasons that the retail price for full and upgrade versions of its software were substantially higher than in the US, which, when you consider that the Aussie Dollar is near parity with the falling US currency, and traditionally Microsoft manufacture in our region, it's certainly a pill which is a bit hard to swallow.
Pricing aside, Microsoft certainly have a lot riding on the back of the new OS. Tracey Fellows, Managing Director of Microsoft Australia said the new operating system offers a streamlined user interface and significant new features that make everyday tasks easier and allow people to get the most out of computers of all styles and sizes.
Now that Windows 7 is on the streets, those users who matter the most will now be able to have their say about how good, bad or indifferent the software is on blogs and in chat rooms globally.
One other fracas which is dogging the Windows 7 launch is the alleged misleading nature of Microsoft's latest TV commercial promoting the security associated with the operating system. The advertisement in question features an elderly gentlemen with what looks to be his grandson. They are playing with a very grand toy castle and talking about IT security.
During the launch Q&A session, journalist Nick Ross asked Jeff Putt, who heads up the Windows consumer team, if he thought the advert was misleading, to which he responded by saying consumers should get "more sincere guidance" from a third party. He quickly added that Windows 7 is the most secure operating system Microsoft has ever produced, and now have Windows Live Security Essentials for people to download as antivirus software.
On a finishing note, which maybe just opportunistic coincidence or karma, as Microsoft launched Windows 7, Apple was putting the finishing touches on its own windows refresh after the expensive glass facade of its flagship Sydney store was vandalised by a projectile, thought to be a ball bearing.
This week on TTR
Recent Apple convert Adam Turner looks out the window to check out the vista. He even catches up with Jeff Putt, who heads up the Windows consumer team to talk Windows 7 features.
Nokia sues Apple for patent infringement and
IT Guru, Dr Feelgood – AKA Dr Sally Cockburn, joins the panel. Yes, a real doctor in the studio. You may remember Sally as the host of Pillowtalk, a late night relationship program which aired in on the Austereo network in the late 90's. So stay tuned to learn if she's a Mac or a PC.
It never ceases to amaze me how dependent Australians are on mobile phones and new research, released last week by Microsoft Australia, reveals just how integral the mobile phone has become to Australians - with some extremely interesting results! Would it surprise you that we're now more reliant than ever on mobile phones, and for much more than just making phone calls.
The Microsoft-commissioned research also found that Australian adoption and use of text and MMS has blown sky high, with over half of respondents indicating that they text more now than they have in the past two years. However, despite the importance that Australians place on their phones, many are still damaging or misplacing their prized possessions:
Nearly a quarter of the population has broken their mobile phone, dropped it in water, or lost their mobile phone altogether.
77 per cent of Australians regularly misplace their phone and have to call it to locate it.
And nearly 50 per cent of Australian males surveyed, aged between 16 and 19, have lost their phone.
Only 20 per cent of females in the same age group have lost their phones.
The survey also revealed that as Australians become more dependent on their phones, and less dependent on their own memory, they are more at risk of losing important information numbers and photos stored on their phones. Most Australians (63%) don't know how to retrieve some of the information stored on their phones, or back it up, risking permanent loss:
Only one third of Australians surveyed know their best friend's phone number by memory and only half of all Australians surveyed know their own office phone number - they rely on their phones for this information. Yet, only one third of Australians have all their phone numbers backed up elsewhere.
Around one in six Australians regularly have issues accessing saved numbers. The same number of Australians are unable to download mobile phone applications.
Three quarters of all females under the age of thirty have cherished photos saved on their mobile phone, yet one third don't know how to retrieve them, and only one third of females have their photos backed up elsewhere.
Australian's may be quick adopters of technology, but it still looks like the majority of users are Luddites. Does this mean the ubiquitous mobile phone is a necessity in this day and age, or is it peer group pressure that drives us to purchase our new best friend? Maybe it's neither. Maybe we're just keeping up with the Jones'
This week on TTR
Adam turns his attention to freeview's latest shenanigans
Police turn to twitter for this year's muck up day,
Apple expands e-commerce on the iPhone,
Microsoft's Outlook is the target of the week for those keen to peddle malware,
Twitter begins Lists Beta, and the Italian town of Venice rolls out city wide wifi.
In these days of easy come, easy go, there one minute, gone the next, web sites and web services, only a few have managed to stand the test of time and become truly iconic internet sites. Probably the one that mostly comes to mind is Google. Who would have thought that search would have developed into what it is today, but it seems that online shoppers, and those keen to spot a bargain have made eBay into probably the most respected online shopping sites to date. Only just last week, Telstra killed off the Trading Post, a pre internet equivalent of ebay, without the added advantage of real time auctions, so would it surprise you that ebay is celebrating its 10th birthday in Australia? It's come along way since its launch in 1999, and if you could sit down with it at a dinner table, it would tell some strange stories.
In 1999, eBay was an auction-based sales site with an average of 94,000 listings a month, today it has 80 times that in both the auction and buy-now format.
In Australia it's sold strange things such as Pat Rafter's ponytail, and even a Perth man's entire life.
But the stats speak for themselves. eBay Australia has sold more than 173 million items at a rate of one item every 1.8 seconds, and according to eBay, the site has gravitated from an auction-based collectables seller to an online shopping mecca, now contributing about $2.6 billion to Australia's GDP. In 2007 Australia GDP was estimated at $773bn so eBay has contributed about 0.3% towards that.
More than 52,700 Australians now make a primary or secondary income out of eBay, while 5.79 million unique visitors were recorded in September this year. The site now has eight million registered users, up from 9000 in 1999.
Oh, and for the record, the first sale was a Harmon Kardon amplifier, while the most expensive, the last Holden Monaro ever produced, went for $187,600.
I would have at a guess that everyone listening to Tech Talk Radio right now would have bought and sold something on eBay. It's become a way of life for some, and product of our modern environment which has stood the test of 10 years. So what will it be like in another 10?
Also on the show this week:
Adam gets stuck into everyone with weak passwords – could that be you?
Microsoft retires Works and rolls out 13 updates for patch Tuesday
EFTpos security and passwords should be high on the agenda and
Last Tuesday night, Australian's had the chance to relive some of their childhood and even adolescence with the return of Hey Hey it's Saturday to free to air TV last week. Hey Hey was Australia's longest running variety TV show with a 28 year season which, in its infancy, was a Saturday morning 3 hour kids show. In time the show grew to become very popular with all ages, kids and adults alike as what went over the kids heads in the front row, was not missed by the mums and dads sitting on the couch behind them.
Hey Hey eventually moved to a night time spot where it lived for well over a decade until its timely demise in 1999 when it's 28 year run finally came to an end. Not only was it the end of a TV show most, if not all Australian's grew up with, it was the virtually the end of live variety TV in Australia. Yes variety lived on, but not in the form of live television. Post Hey Hey variety was in the form of scripted and tightly edited television, the complete opposite of the unscripted, un rehearsed, live TV of the pre 2000 era.
So what has Hey Hey it's Saturday got to do with technology? Well last Tuesday night when the 3 hour 10 year reunion special aired, social networking added a whole new dimension to live television. Thanks to Twitter, the short messaging social network, Australian's came together for three hours to interact with the show pushing #heyhey to no1 globally for the three hours the show aired, and it remained in the top 10 for nearly 24 hours after that.
Mainstream media reported “Social media might not have been around when Australia got its first taste of Hey! Hey! It's Saturday, but that didn't stop the show's fans taking to Twitter and Facebook like a Plucka Duck to water last night. Tens of thousands of tweets were posted as Daryl Somers and friends took to the air for part one of their reunion special, with comments from viewers still flooding in this morning at a rate of around one every five seconds.”
So why was Hey Hey so strong on Twitter? Well in a recent report by Neilson Online, Twitter continues to grow in popularity and importance in both the consumer and corporate worlds. No longer just a platform for friends to stay connected in real time, it has evolved into an important component of brand marketing. Unique visitors to Twitter increased 1,382 percent year-over-year, from 475,000 unique visitors in February 2008 to 7 million in February 2009, making it the fastest growing site in the Member Communities category for the month. Facebook followed, growing 228 percent but Twitterers (a.k.a. Tweeters) are not primarily teens or college students as you might expect. In fact, in February the largest age group on Twitter was 35-49; with nearly 3 million unique visitors, comprising almost 42 percent of the site's audience.
Hey Hey it's Saturday is scheduled for its final reunion show on October 7. Let's see if the law of averages stand true, and the Hey Hey hash will again soar to the top of twitters trending topics. My bet is it will be bigger and better than the previous as Australians relive the time when things weren't so stressful, and life was just that little bit easier.
For the rest of the world wondering what on earth #heyhey is – it's a little bit of yester-year for us Aussies. It'll go away in time, but then again, maybe it's here to stay.
Also on the show this week:
It's been 40 years since Monty Python's Flying Circus aired on TV
Adam looks at Google's Sidewiki,
Microsoft to give free anti virus to the masses
A bank to roll out free wifi – I wonder which bank it could be and
A warning today of the new online threat set to be a real challenge for authorities.
5 years ago Tech Talk started on 3WBC before there was streaming, and just about the time podcasts were becoming fashionable. There was no such thing as ADSL2, the minister for Communications was Helen Coonan, the treasurer was Peter Costello and the prime minister was that short little guy. Now we're heard on several radio stations around Australia and New Zealand, stream live every Monday night at 8PM and we're in the ears of podcasters globally. So thanks for sticking around if you've been with us over the years, and welcome back if you just new to the show.
Tech Talk Radio consists of a group of regular panelists who are well versed in the tech way in their own fields of expertise. Adam Turner joins us on the couch every week for his view on technology. Adam was formerly Melbourne deputy editor of Next, the business IT section of Fairfax's The Age and Sydney Morning Herald newspapers in Australia and is also a well respected freelance IT journalist and Apple enthusiast. Lidija Davis is an expat living in Silicon Valley in California and joins us from time to time as news breaks from the epicenter of modern technology.
We have regular guests from all facets of the tech world, and not to forget interviews with today's movers and shakers. So as we head down the track beyond our 250th episode, stick with us as tech Talk Radio continues to demystify technology and the politics there of in the only way we know how.
Also on the show this week:
The war continues: Nintendo cuts price of Wii games console
Emo Labs wins DEMOgod gong for 'invisible speakers'
AFACT raises concern over unlimited ISP plans and
We take a look back at the changes in technology that have and haven't lead up to expectations in the last 5 years.
It seems the party's over for Australia's incumbent Telco Telstra, with the Federal Government announcing a massive overhaul to regulations surrounding Australia's telecommunications industry. Not so long ago, Telstra's ex CEO Sol Trujillo with the three Amigos by his side had Australia by the “Short and Curlies” with the monopolistic strangle hold they had over the country, but with the changing of the guard, heralded by the arrival of a new CEO, David Thodey, came the cessation of hostilities between Telstra and the government.
The government had finally put the genie back into its bottle, and this week announced a series of reforms starting with a call to Telstra to voluntarily separate its wholesale and retail arms, a call which has been welcomed by ACCC boss GRAEME SAMUEL who said that this was the greatest reform to the telecommunications industry in 2 to 3 decades.
The reforms announce by the government last week include Telstra being asked to structurally separate or have a form of separation imposed upon it by law. If Telstra failed to separate voluntarily it would be banned from future wireless spectrum auctions should it not separate or sell off its HFC cable network or its interest in Foxtel
Amongst the reforms:
The ACCC given new powers to regulate wholesale access to Telstra's network and hand out competition notices without prior consultation.
Minister Conroy would be given exclusive power to change the requirements of the Universal Service Obligation (USO), with a capacity to fine Telstra up to $10 million for not meeting such conditions.
The ACCC would be given capacity to issue on-the-spot fines for breaches of 'consumer safeguards'.
Also Carrier licenses no longer required for operators with revenue less than $25 million per annum.
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel, was asked, who are the big winners out of the proposed breakup of Telstra - consumers or shareholders.
Comparing three previously government owned entities which have been privatized over the past 20 years, the Commonwealth Bank, Qantas and Telstra, if share prices are anything to go by, the CBA and Qantas are enjoying a positive growth, while Telstra continues to slide. Economists say that Telstra shares of any flavor, T1, T2, or T3 are quite possibly the worst investment anyone could make. Some say that this can be blamed on the uncertainty of the telecommunications sector, which ironically is driven by the Federal Government and the bloody mindedness of the previous Telstra chain of command.
While the spin the Government is applying to this new regulation is painting Conroy as “The most reforming Communications minister for the past few decades”, the reality is, Conroy is still looking to filter the internet in this country and as a result, slow the net by up to 80% in a worst case scenario. One might ask is Conroy Dr Jekyll or Mr. Hyde, or maybe he's the new Messiah of Australian telecommunications…
Also on the show this week:
Adam looks at the hand Conroy's dealt Telstra,
Google maps now has live traffic information for Australian cities
Are we on the verge of a malware epidemic
A Sydney hosting company to charge by the kilowatt
Bigbond signs up users to Mobile Broadband service without consent,
and Optus tells customers who they can and can't call.
These days, global citizens are becoming more and more reliant on the internet, not only for personal and social reasons, but wheels of commerce are gathering speed in cyberspace as well. Banks encourage us to check our account balances and pay our bills online, Retailers offer us discount incentives to buy on line, and most importantly, the internet, for most Australians, is where we get our news, and research our purchases, but what would happen if the internet just disappeared?
Well this is exactly what happened to two Australian websites last week belonging to the Prime Minister of Australia, and the Government body that regulates telecommunications, the Australian Communications and Media Authority, ACMA.
According to reports in the media, hackers temporarily shut down Kevin Rudd's website in an apparent protest at government proposals for a mandatory internet filtering system scheme. The website of the Australian Communications and Media Authority was also taken down by the attack at about 7.20pm, but both sites were reported to be back online an hour later. Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Communications was also targeted.
A website purporting to be responsible for the attack said the proposal for internet filtering would block legal content, and take censorship to China-like levels. "Not only will your rights be at stake, our internet speeds will slow down by 70 per cent, be mandatory for all Aussies and will not protect us from evil AT ALL”
Motives aside, the websites that were attacked were the victims of a DDOS attack, otherwise known as a Distributed Denial of Service Attack. A DDoS occurs when multiple systems flood the bandwidth or resources of a targeted system, usually one or more web servers. These are usually the result of the controller of a zombie network giving an instruction to all the computers in the compromised network a command which instructs them to continually try and connect to a specific web site, and in this case, it was the PM's site and ACMA's site. As a result of the vast amounts of traffic generated to these sites, it makes it very hard, if not impossible for legitimate users to connect. It can sometimes cause web servers to crash as they just can't cope with the demand on the site.
In more recent times, a online betting site ran out of Alice Springs was forced out of business by a Russian syndicate who tried to extort cash out of the owner. They too used a DDOS attack to render the site inoperable, but such was the size of the attack, that it took out all of Alice Springs and most of Adelaide. It was even felt as far away as Sydney.
So looking at the bigger picture here, if hostilities between countries ever escalated to that of Cold War proportions, it wouldn't take too much to seriously hinder, if not prevent a country from using the internet, and in affect, bringing it to its knees.
A spokesman for Senator Conroy said those responsible were misguided because the proposed filter would only block illegal content, but maybe it's the Government that is misguided. If this havoc is what a small group of wayward, mis informed individuals can achieve, imagine what a well organize, well orchestrated group of potential terrorists could achieve. Maybe the next 9/11 will be played out in the virtual world, not the real world.
Also on the show this week:
We take a look at the new Apple line up.
Adam likes what he sees in iTunes 9, but sees red over the lack of blu.
The ABC looks to partner with more ISPs to offer unmetered access to its free iView on-demand television portal
Apples CEO Steve Jobs is back into the public spotlight for the first time in over half a year but looking as heathy as his latest Operating system Snow Leopard and
With cyber crooks becoming more and more sneaky, it's probably timely that you re visit your safety measures when connected to the internet. Last week PC Tools released the results of a worldwide survey that analyses web security. The research demonstrates that while Australians are well aware of the risks of cybercrime, the majority are exposed to new and unknown threats on social networking sites, instant messaging services and other online communication and networking tools.
The fact that Australians have a high level of awareness about cybercrime is supported by other recent research, with a Unisys report confirming in April that Australians are more worried about computer security and identity theft than their personal safety or financial obligations, and with the ACMA finding in July that children and parents perceive contracting computer viruses as the greatest risk of online activity.
The results of this survey show that while Australians are definitely security conscious, they lack the security savvy to protect themselves online, with the majority leaving themselves wide open to cybercrime because they aren't aware of how the latest threats operate and don't have the right security software.
A key finding of the PC tools report revealed that despite the known risks, research revealed that Australians were not actively protecting themselves online
* Only 16% of respondents reported having comprehensive protection against viruses, spyware and other malware (i.e. they used a Security Suite or a combination of point solutions such as AntiVirus, AntiSpyware and AntiSpam) and an alarming 25% of respondents didn't know what type of security software they had installed.
* Only 2% of respondents were aware that the best way of protecting against new and unknown threats is to use Behavioural Protection.
* 31% use the same password across all websites.
* 35% of respondents did not update their security software regularly, with 16% doing it ³rarely² and 10% never updating.
* 55% of respondents ignore alerts from their security software.
The research also revealed that Australians have a low level of awareness of key methods of infection online.
* Only 51% of respondents were aware that they could by infected by Malware through an Instant Message and only 61% were aware that they could be infected through Social Networking.
* 45% of respondents open attachments or links sent from a friend or contact straight away, without checking them for legitimacy.
* 15% of respondents thought that if they only visited legitimate websites they could ensure their safety online
Keeping ahead of the baddies is hard enough, but making sure you have the right software to do the job is easy. Don't let complacency bite you on the bum. So when it's all said and done, how safe are you in today's online world?
Also on the show this week:
Microsoft warns of a critical patch Tuesday
Identity thieves are using an SMS-based lottery scam to target Australian consumers
Adam takes a look at Nokia's new Booklet 3G netbook, or is that laptop and
It's spring time in Australia, and with the changing of the season, new life starts blossoming everywhere and your computer is no different. This season sees two new operating systems roll out with the long anticipated launch of Microsoft's Windows 7, and Apples new cat, leopard.
For those of you thinking of upgrading your hardware or maybe even purchasing a new laptop or desktop, now is the time. And for those of us who have been holding off, the wait is almost over.
In the case of Microsoft, Vista has been a dog of an operating system. It started life about the same time Apple's OSX hit the streets, so the pressure was on for Microsoft to release something of its own in the market place around the same time. Many have speculated that because of the rush, Vista ended up being a half finished system which was heavy on resources. At the time, of its launch, there were very few machines that could do the OS justice. In the Apple camp, OSX gave mac users a seamless upgrade from an operational point of view as well as a functionality point of view. It was the time of change for Apple, as the welcomed Intel into the fold. OSX was an operating system designed to win customers over from Microsoft, and this it did.
So has the Windows 7 wait been worth it? Well it's too early to call at the moment as the pride of the fleet for Microsoft has just been released to industry professionals, with the public release scheduled for October 22. The true indication of the success of the system will only be know after that.
Back to the leopard, this release seems to be an engineering update, with lots of changes from an operational point of view as opposed to a user experience. And as for the price of upgrading – well there's cheap and cheaper. Something that Apple is not normally know for.
For owners of Intel-based Macs who are still using the older Tiger version of the Mac OS, Apple is officially making Snow Leopard available only in a "boxed set" that includes other software and costs $169. The reasoning is that these users never paid the $129 back in 2007 to upgrade to Leopard. But here's a tip: Apple concedes that the $29 Snow Leopard upgrade will work properly on these Tiger-equipped Macs, so you can save the extra $140. Who said being a late adopter wouldn't pay!
And the Windows 7 upgrade? Retail prices for Windows 7 in Australia will be broadly similar to those charged for Vista. Home Premium will be $A299, Professional will be $A449, and Ultimate $A469.
Upgrade prices will be $A199, $A399 and $A429 respectively.
In an apparent attempt to avoid customers delaying new PC purchases until Windows 7 ships on October 22, Microsoft has announced that the Windows 7 Upgrade Option will be offered in Australia, starting June 26.
So the pricing winner for this round is the Leopard. Who would have thought.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner takes us riverside for his thoughts with Macworld podcaster Anthony Caruana
Telstra turns to Twitter for customer support! Now we are TWEETING!
Nokia has unveiled its first phone running on Linux software and
Let the game console price war begin! Microsoft's Xbox $100 cheaper in Australia
If you hadn't noticed, there seems to be a lot more video on the web these days. What once used to be an online extravagance, has now become the norm thanks to gains in connectivity speed in recent years, as well as the industry gurus who are making video codecs much more usable, after all, maximum compression with maximum quality is the name of the online video game these days.
As with everything in today's online world, one thing leads to another, and it's certainly the case with video. Apple, Microsoft and Adobe all have a finger in the video pie, but some more than others. Apple has it's extremely high quality H264 codec, Adobe has flash and Microsoft… Well what do they have?
Silverlight is Microsoft's latest foray into the online world. A plug in which offers a rich media experience to visitors of a website. What ever that is. Some have drawn parallels between Flash and Silverlight, but the two, in my way of seeing things, are two completely different beasts.
When it comes to web development, Macromedia developed a suite of applications of which the flag ship was Dreamweaver – an industry standard web development program. At the time, Macromedia also developed Flash – an application that was originally built to provide competition to Microsoft's power point program, but instead found itself in cyberspace. Macromedia was bought by Adobe in 2005, and it didn't take long for both products to be re badged and re launched by Adobe.
Microsoft have been noticeably absent in the web world. Front page, Microsoft's token web development app, was very clunky and was not a patch on Dreamweaver. As time passed, Dreamweaver became more entrenched in heart of developers out of lack of competition, if nothing else, making it even more difficult for any other company to muscle in to the web app space.
In recent times, Microsoft has launched their version of a web development suite called Expression – and they're up to edition 3 if you hadn't noticed. The big gun in this package has to be Silverlight, as it's the software player that pulls all the new features together – 3D, Video, an high resolution image galleries. It's even got its own media encoder and buffer-less video serving of a Microsoft IIS,
Is this the new web development platform to give Adobe's Dreamweaver and flash a run for it's money? Check out the soon to be launched Channel nine site video.ninemsn.com.au. Currently you'll see a 2D video wall which will mutate into a 3D elliptical wall with interactive tiles all constructed in Expression Blend and Expression Coder. So what's the chance of web developers globally jumping ship? Maybe it's just a new tool to add to the collection. So next time you're prompted to add Silverlight to a browser why not give it a go. You never know what you might see.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner gives Telstra a piece of his mind
More Internet bad guys brought to justice.
Antivirus and anti malware company Kphpersky tries to woo the Australian market and
Last week I spent some time taking talk back calls on ABC Radio on the subject of Digital television and digital radio and I came away from that with an understanding that there is still a great amount of confusion in the broader community about digital TV which has only been compounded with the launch of digital radio. So here's the digital low down as it stands today.
Digital TV and Digital Radio are two entirely different beasts and are completely incompatible with each other. A digital TV receiver or a set top box will not receive digital radio and a DAB+ receiver will not receive TV. The confusion possibly stems from the ability to receive narrow cast radio broadcast via your set top box for services such as ABC's DIG and SBS's news services. These services are in fact radio services, but the broadcasters have chosen to transmit them as part of their digital TV service.
The methods of transmission are completely different when comparing digital TV to digital or DAB+ radio.
Another myth is that digital radio is going to replace traditional AM and FM Radio. There's nothing further from the truth. Digital radio is a complimentary service to existing radio services. At this time there are no plans to turn off any traditional radio broadcasts.
Moving on to TV, there have been a lot of mixed messages surrounding the urgency to purchase digital TV reception equipment. There's only one timetable that needs to be adhered to, and that's the government's switch of time table which can be found on the Tech Talk Radio website. If you want to buy something before those dates, then that's your choice. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
When it comes to upgrading to digital TV, you can do one of two things. Buy a new TV with a built in digital receiver which means you don't need a set top box, or buy a set top box to convert the new digital signals to work on your existing analogue TV. This means you can use your existing TV beyond the analogue shutdown dates. If this appeals to you then you only need a standard definition set top box as you can't watch high definition programs on a standard definition TV unless the box you choose has a down converter.
There's another type of digital TV receiver which is called a PVR or personal video recorder. This is the equivalent of the old VHS machine. It's the same as a set top box with one exception – it has a recording device built in, in the form of a hard drive. Think of it as the digital VHS machine for modern times – no tape required! The PVR will function exactly the same way as a set top box, so you don't need a set top box with a PVR.
There's a little more to it than what I've just discussed, but armed with what you now know, don't let any sales bully tell you otherwise. If you want to watch the new digital TV channels, then a new digital TV, Set top Box or PVR is for you, but if you live in one of Australia's capital cities, what you have will work perfectly well until the middle of 2013.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner looks at portable devices such as net books and tablet pcs.
iiNet gets the gong as a stand out ISP
Twitter takes a leaf out of apples book when it comes to 3rd party apps and
Just when we thought any deals and partnerships between Microsoft and Yahoo were dead in the water, a deal has surfaced this week of an online advertising deal between software giant Microsoft and search engine company Yahoo.
Microsoft has been left at the altar on many occasions now when it comes to joint ventures with internet companies and even its own endeavors when it comes to an online provider. It was reported on all things digital this week that as part of the pending deal–in which Yahoo would sell search advertising for its sites and some of Microsoft's, while Microsoft's Bing search technology would power it–Yahoo would get to keep pretty much all the revenue and even more for the next three years.
Sources said that in the first two years of the deal, Yahoo would keep 110 percent of all revenue. And, in the third, Yahoo would get 90 percent. Which could represent many billions of dollars, since Yahoo will be selling for both.
For Microsoft, the payment will–within four years–allow the software giant to become the de facto No. 2 search technology player after Google. It is not clear if there have been any guarantees on revenue made by Microsoft, but there is no upfront payment being paid to the Silicon Valley-based Yahoo.
If Microsoft is happy to play second fiddle to Google, maybe this is a good solution, but the reality is that Microsoft has missed the internet ship, and not by a few minutes - by almost a decade. Microsoft was a 90's company and Google was a Millennium company, and is now an even larger threat to Microsoft with its move into the Operating System market place especially since the announcement of the chrome OS destined for netbooks and the like.
So while Microsoft try and sell their wares, Google are quite happy providing it as freeware. The future of Operating systems is becoming clear. Low cost, light weight and open. So is there room for two major players in the market – three if you count Apple?
Only history will tell.
Also on the show this week:
Adam turner turns his attention to Video Games. what's your addiction? - a quick fix or do you settle in for the long haul.
Microsoft and Yahoo are at it again!
If it's not a personal question, how big is it? The internet that is... and
Google tweak gmail to make it more appealing to business users
Wireless connectivity for devices such as laptops, pdas, netbooks and mobile phones seems to be old news these days, but the security issues associated with setting up wireless networks still seems to be a concern for authorities. As most of you are aware, wireless devices straight out of the box allow anything and everything to connect to them, and the reason behind this, is to allow users minimum fiddling about with settings to get the system up and online, allowing the laptop on the kitchen bench internet access within a few seconds of switching the router on.
It's at this point that the non technical users says “job done” and walks away with the knowledge that all his devices at the home or office can now wirelessly connect to one another and services online. Problem is, so can the neighbours. One of the important stages of setting up a wireless network is the implementation of security and on today's modern wireless access devices there are several methods to do this. The easiest and probably least secure way to set up basic wireless security is by using a WEP key.
The WEP Key is a password which is exchanged between a wireless device and a router on routers using WEP security. This is perfectly acceptable if you live in a low risk environment, that is, a location where only few people can see your network such as a suburban home. But if you live in a high density environment where more people can see your network, such as an inner city block of flats, then a higher level of security is required and WPA2 is the one for you. Wi-Fi Protected Access 2 improves on WPA by introducing encryption algorithms considered fully secure and implementing all of the mandatory components of IEEE 802.11i standard.
Now why am I bantering on about this, this week? Well the incidents of Wardriving are on the rise here in Australia to the point where law enforcement agencies are now paying attention to unsecured wireless networks. 'Wardriving' refers to the technique of searching for unsecured wireless networks by driving the streets armed simply with a laptop or smartphone seeking network connections, and let's face it, we've all got one of these.
Starting now, Queensland Police plans to conduct a 'wardriving' mission around select Queensland towns in an effort to educate its citizens to secure their wireless networks. When unsecured networks are found, the Queensland Police will pay a friendly visit to the household or small business, informing them of the risks they are exposing themselves to.
Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police said "It is a simple campaign, much like past police campaigns in which officers walk around railway station checking cars have been locked. If you leave your car unlocked, you come back and find a note from the Police warning you of the dangers involved with leaving your car unsecured."
Hay said the Police would ideally hope to return to surveyed areas within a month to "see if they've fixed the problem."
It does seems like a good idea, a little bit of proactive policing can go a long way, but one has to question the technical ability of your average police officer to find an unsecured wireless network with accuracy. After all, what would you do if you found a note under your door saying that your wireless connection was open for all to use and you knew it wasn't yours? Would it be fair to say that curiosity would get the better of you?
Also on the show this week:
Adam turner tells of his heavenly experience in the cloud.
Ex Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo has left the country, but he's still in the news for the wrong reasons.
The federal opposition cops a hefty bill for NBN information sought under freedom of information,
Microsoft's profits fall as software giant sends windows 7 of to the replicator, and
Google help you fly to the moon, if that's what you'd like to do.
During the course of the past week, I came across and article on Gizmodo.com.au titled “The Dirty Backstabbing Mess Called Betamax Vs VHS”. This article brought back memories of a format war, which at the time, were the likes we'd never seen before. Two rival formats of similar technology, vying for dominance in the then very juvenile home video market.
For those of you not old enough to remember, these were two domestic 1/2” video tape formats which went head to head back in the early 80's, but as history now tells, there was only room in the market for one and we all know who the winner was. Betamax was a home videocassette tape recording format developed by Sony, released on May 10, 1975. Betamax had no guard band and used azimuth recording to reduce crosstalk.
According to Sony's own history webpage, the name came from a double meaning: beta being the Japanese word used to describe the way signals were recorded onto the tape, and from the fact that when the tape ran through the transport, it looked like the Greek letter beta (β). The suffix -max came from "maximum", to suggest greatness.
So what was wrong with Sony's Betamax? Technically, nothing. In fact, those in the know knew that Betamax had the edge over VHS. The VHS format was a result of two companies Matsushita—who we now call Panasonic—and its independent subsidiary JVC.
To quote Gizmodo “ These guys (JVC and Matsushita) were among the biggest manufacturers in the world, dwarfing Sony many times over. Matsushita, known for efficiency, not innovation, tended to focus on big boring appliances—TVs, refrigerators, air conditioners—with a smaller team, branded Technics, devoted to dominating the hi-fi realm. JVC was all about TVs and audio gear, and had decent video know-how.”
So was it sheer volume, brand dominance and product saturation in a global market place that caused the demise of Betamax? Or was it the marketing battle that would make consumers choose one over the other. My guess is that it was a bit of both. It's worth noting that the Beta format continues to this day in the professional video market. Sony have patents which stitch up the IP of the format, which means only Sony can make Beta tapes for SD and HD formats such as Digital Betacam and HDcam. The housing remains the same, but what's contained within has certainly change through the years.
In modern times, we're still witnessing format wars. The most recent was that between Bluray and HD DVD, and we all know the outcome of that. Fortunately this was not as prolonged battle as was VHS and DVD. The collateral damage of the Beta VHS war was millions of Betamax owners globally. I recall Betamax held just as much shelf space as VHS did in our local video library at its peak. When the consortium lead by Toshiba threw in the HD DVD towel, the damage was minimal, due to the fact that the emerging technology was just so new.
In today's professional video production environment, Sony have won the war they have decks and formats which are truly industry standard. They have a massive share of the market place. Panasonic are there, and try as they might, they cannot reclaim that share.
So at the end of the day, when Sony's Beta format is alive and well, living in TV studios and Production houses globally, who do you think won the war?
Also on the show this week:
We'll check out Firefox's latest incarnation,
We get the latest on the NBN Rollout or lack of it,
A NASA hacker was just searching for UFOs
Microsoft plans to open shop right next door toApple and
This week the search engine juggernaut Google announced its move into the Operating System market with a version of Chrome destined to be a free OS on netbooks. It's been a few years since the introduction of Google's android platform for mobile devices, and now they're moving into the portable devices.
Google announced last Tuesday that it is developing a new operating system for personal computers, a month after Microsoft launched Bing, its first search engine to gain ground on Google after more than a decade of misses, according to early reports.
The Chrome Operating System will initially be available on low-cost netbooks designed for internet surfing and running web-based software, starting in the second half of 2010. Google said will not charge for the software, which could pressure Microsoft to cut prices on its Windows, eroding more earnings from the profitable system found on nine out of every 10 PCs.
This new assault in the Operating System Market does raise several questions – one of which is what are their long term phpirations for Chrome? In a market where there are currently three players, is their room for a fourth? Microsoft has it Windows, Apple has its OSX and there of course there's Linux, and soon, Chrome will make its debut.
For years now, many organizations have tried to muscle in on what Google does best, but most have not even managed to scratch, let alone dint the juggernauts armor. Microsoft are up to their fourth incarnation of their search engine, and have really missed the internet boat, and now they find another threat from Google, as they targeting something very near and dear to Microsoft's heart, PC Operating systems.
It was reported in the Sydney Morning Herald that the new operating system is based on a product from Google that has had limited success: the Chrome browser. As of February, it claimed 1.2 per cent market share, compared to nearly 70 per cent for Microsoft's browser, according to researcher Net Applications.Google said Chrome OS will be fast and lightweight, letting users access the web just a few seconds after turning on their PCs. But it did not provide much information about the product, making it hard for analysts to judge long-term prospects.
So is this the beginning of the end for Microsoft? No Way, If anything, it will make them even more determined to release high quality product into the market place. Consumers will win with more competition, and as for Apple, it'll no doubt be business as usual. What it does mean for Microsoft though, is that complacency could be very costly.
This Week on Tech Talk Radio
Dodo's broadband network performance and customer service woes have plumbed new lows.
Lack of enterprise appeal takes shine off Chrome OS
amd Cyberattacks put spotlight on web vulnerabilities
As I sat around the dinner table last Saturday night, the conversation headed down the path of today's generation Y, and how they have an abundance of gadgets and gizmos to help them to engage in almost every phpect of modern life. From entertainment to breaking news, education and social networking, the youth of today are informed like no other generation before them.
News and gossip appears on their desktops, laptops and mobile phones almost as it happens. New and old music arrives in a digital, non tangible form – these kids don't own many, if any CD's, or even know what a record is, let alone seen one for real.
But being so connected has its problems, problems which most people aged 30 or over have probably never experience. Things like cyber bullying and the digital divide. Despite the cost of these portable high speed communications devices which handle navigation, video, pictures, sound, SMS, and email, coming down, allowing everyone to own at least one media capable device, gadget envy is still a source of peer group pressure as they are now fashion accessories, not mobile phones.
Take Apples new iPhone 3GS, a very desirable accessory to pull out of the school bag or hip pocket. To buy one of these outright will set you back around $879 for an entry level unit of the latest 3G model. That's got to be a few hours work at the local golden arches restaurant.
Gadgets aside, have you ever thought about how simple things were before today's Gen Y was about? Cast you mind back 20 or so years ago when television was analogue and square, none of this fancy rectangular widescreen stuff. When tuning in to a TV station meant choosing a channel, not one of 4 or 5 possible channels.
When connecting a VCR to the TV was relatively simple, compared to the thousand of possible combinations and methods of today, and stereo was the buzz audio word, not 5.1 or 7.1 Dolby surround sound.
Just last week, Brian in the Tech Talk Radio office asked what seemed to be a simple question about how to set up an easy to use media centre so his younger brother has no need to handle DVDs. Back 20 years ago, these problem would never be an issue because we didn't have the technology. Now we have media centers, DLNA servers, video on demand, digital free to air TV in both High definition and standard definition, Digital radio and pay TV, not to forget downloads off the internet. What's today's modern parent got to do to stay abreast of new world digital living room?
This dilemma can do your head in if you're not careful, even for the tech savvy, so be informed and read up on today's high tech living room gadgets, browse the internet and learn, but don't get caught wwilfing (what was I looking for) else you might end up in therapy. The best thing you can do when you venture out shopping for today's modern gadgets, is take a 13 year old with you. Most kids of today have the mutant technology gene in their blood. Listen to them, as the more often than not know what they're talking about. Oh, and if you don't have a 13 year old in the house hold, try borrowing one from a friend. They can be bought quite cheaply, just offer them music card to fill up their iPod to say thanks, and they'll be your new best friend and technical soul mate.
Also on the show this week:
Adam takes a look a DLNA, the technology allowing today's modern living room gadgets to talk together.
Social networking has once again pushed the limits of the internet with the untimely demise of Michael Jackson who passed away last Friday aged 50.
Celebrations, vigils and synchronized moonwalks are being coordinated online. Sales of his music on Amazon and iTunes are soaring, according to The Times' Media Decoder blog. Twitter is still populated with emotional outpourings of grief and messages commemorating Mr. Jackson's music and legacy.
Mr. Jackson's death is also prompting some people to ask questions about the life and history of the late singer. Mobile search service KGB, which employs human beings to answer text queries, has been flooded with questions about Mr. Jackson.
So did your internet connection seem slow early Friday morning? Traffic to news web sites globally sites spiked clocking in at one point at 4.2 million visitors per minute.
Some entertainment news Web sites including EOnline.com and PerezHilton.com appeared to load more slowly than normal. Sometimes they did not load at all, according to some observations during the hours immediately after the singers demise.
A Google spokesman said even Google had trouble keeping up. In California between 5:40 p.m. and 6:15 p.m. Eastern, after TMZ.com had said Mr. Jackson had died, some visitors to Google News experienced difficulty accessing search results for queries related to Michael Jackson.
Twitter, the micro blogging site, went into meltdown with Jackson fans around the world using the social networking site to express their grief. Twitter said it had disabled the search field on users' home pages entirely, although it did not explain why. The troubles don't bode well for Twitter's prospects as a "real-time" search engine, which many believe is likely the service's most valuable feature.
The top five trending topics globally for the 48 hours after the death were Jackson Related, pushing discussion of the bloodshed in Iran off the radar.
Also on the show this week:
The iPhone 3GS hits the streets this week an Adam puts it through the hoops, but will he upgrade.
We take a look at the role of the internet in times of major breaking news
Telstra Bill Shock for broadband users is back in the news again,
Australian Pricing for Windows 7 was released during the week, and
$4m later, Grocery Choice website dumped after supermarkets refuse to supply information.
Digital Radio is now a reality in Australia. Now that Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth have DAB+ digital radio blitzing its way through the airwaves, retailers finally have the green light to start selling digital radios full-steam ahead, rather than just having the odd display model that nobody in the shop quite knows how to use and can't be tuned in to anything. Tonight, we'll explain the virtues of digital radio in Australia, amongst other things. With the imminent switch on by broadcasters such as the ABC on July 1, we'll tell you what to buy, what not to buy as well as the benefits to listeners and the all important quality of sound.
Also, as mobile broadband gets faster and faster in this country, the ability to use devices such laptops, netbooks and PDA's on the go is now, more than ever, a viable contender to satisfy the needs of the “on the go” individual. Without a shadow of a doubt Australia's incumbent telco, Telsta, has the fastest mobile broadband network with the best coverage as well as being the most expensive to subscribe to.
But before we jump to any conclusions, take a look at what you're going to be doing online. Chances are, high data usage applications such as watching Youtube and massive downloads will be something you do at home or the office, not at the airport, riding the train or waiting in the dentist's surgery. So ask yourself, how much bandwidth do you really need on the road?
If you're like me, browsing the web, social networking, email, and ability to connect back into the office server is all I need. So would it surprise you that a couple of hundred Mb is all that's really required for this on a monthly basis? Put aside the big data limits offered by some companies and evaluate their network speed and coverage. Look at what your currently using and where your using it (geographically speaking) and make an compare that with what's on offer across all telcos.
Personally I rely on ADSL products at home and in the office, but, as I alluded to earlier, on the road, I only use a couple of hundred Mb a month. From a reliability point of view, and a no “bill shock” approach, I've chosen the incumbent, to provide my mobile broadband. Now my point is, I could have bought so much more broadband with other providers that I would't have used. It would have been down on speed, lacking in coverage, and open up the potential for bill shock while roaming. For my situation of traveling inside and outside the main city centres, the choice was logical.
Now most modern handsets which use the 3rd generation network, have the ability to act as a modem to connect your laptop to mobile broadband. It's not a new concept and standard 'out of the box' with phones like Nokia's e71, but I was surprised to hear this week that Apple's new iPhone, which has the ability to do this, needs to be activated by a carrier to allow this to happen. Out of the box, your iPhone will chat merrily to the internet EXCEPT when you want to allow a device, such as your laptop to connect to the net through it. So why not?
In the US, it was rumored that AT&T were going to charge a once of fee of $55 to allow tethering of the iPhone, which the company has said were false, but here in Australia Optus will charge you $10 per month for the privilege. That's $120 a year just to allow your laptop to connect to the internet via your iPhone. That doesn't give you any more data, only the ability to do what most other phones let you do for free!
No wonder Australian iPhone users have started downloading widely available configuration files to activate the device's tethering feature and bypass Optus' planned $10 monthly fee. And you though Telstra was bad… Also on the show this week:
Digital radio becomes a reality in Australia
Australia climbs the international broadband ladder.
The VHA merger goes ahead
A phishing scam involving the Australian Tax Office dupes 200,000 people and
Universal Music was awarded $1.92 million in the retrial of a Minnesota woman accused of swapping music over the Kazaa.
The trials and tribulations of technology in transit can be quite daunting for the uninitiated, or even the experienced for that matter. Last week I drove a couple of hundred kilometers down the Victorian coast line to the small holiday village of Inverloch. Not that the destination is relevant – it could have been any town in Australia, outside one of the main Central Business Districts.
Mobile communications is divided into two distinct components these days, mobile telephony and mobile data. If you're rich enough to be connected to Telstra, Australia's incumbent telecommunications provider, then chances are, you won't have much to worry about. But if you're consumer savvy and conscience of the drain on the hip pocket, then chances are, you're with a different provider – even still, you may have two different providers, one for your mobile telephony and another for your mobile broadband.
Since the launch of handsets (smart phones) such as Apples iPhone, the Blackberry and Nokia's E71, data has become more of a necessity than ever before. After all, why invest in these smart phones, which have been designed and built to deliver a vast range of internet services to the consumer on the go, if you aren't going to use what's on offer.
Before the smart phone hit the market, telcos saw data over the mobile phone network as a bit of a cash cow. But in the past year or so, pricing for mobile data is becoming comparable to that of voice. Even the Telstra “Rock of Gibraltar” has budged ever so slightly in the last 12 months on mobile broadband pricing. But beware the roaming display on your mobile phone, because this is where mobile data can become extremely expensive.
Mobile data can be charged anywhere from 50 cents to several dollars per Mb when you choose to use internet services on your mobile when roaming onto another carriers network.
Now on the face of it, it doesn't sound too bad, but if you leave your handset on, with applications like Google Maps, Skype,or Fring, then you may be in for some bill shock, especially if your away from your home location for a while. Other processes that run on your smart phone such as email clients can also eat away at your mobile data plan, so the trick to traveling is turn off what you don't need, or at least change the settings to manual. That way, you know when and how much your using.
One final piece of advice, as mobile broadband gets faster, unless you have substantial allocation of moble broadband, never leave you laptop unattended with you mobile broadband card connected. I did on the weekend to find a substantial swag of my allocation consumed by a fairly sizable windows update.
Just as well my account anniversary was only two days away.
Also on the show this week:
Former Qantas pilot and aviation guru Mark Mayer joins us live in the studio
Adam looks at mobile VOIP
Microsoft to sell Windows 7 in Europe with no browser at all, and
Apples WWDC has concluded and what have we learnt?
As we go to air tonight Mac-o-philes from around the world are converging on their equivalent of Mecca, the Annual Apple World Wide Developers Conference held in San Francisco. In just 8 hours time, the event's key note speaker will address the throng of the apple faithful, so if you just can't wait to hear what's in store this year keep an eye on Macworld dot com, but if you want news and gossip as it happens, then twitter is the place for you.
Back home here in Australia this week, did you know it's nation e-security week? The annual National E-security Awareness Week, which is a Federal Government initiative, aims to raise awareness about the importance of e-security among Australians.
This year, the week, is being held from 5-12 June and aims to help inform home users, students and small business about the simple steps they can take to protect themselves, their families and their businesses online.
A range of events and activities are being held around Australia in metropolitan, remote and regional areas to help Australians understand e-security risks. There are simple tips being promoted throughout the Week to help Australians use the internet in a secure and confident manner including…
* Get a better, stronger password and change it at least twice a year.
* Get security software, and update and patch it regularly.
* Stop and think before you click on links or attachments from unknown sources.
* Information is valuable. Be careful about what you give away about yourself and others online.
Tonight the panel will give you their tips for a safer online world for you and yours, the dos and don'ts when it comes to social networking, as well as email, and physical security, such as what should be between you and the world of cyberspace.
Every city in the world has places you wouldn't want to go, and cyberspace is no different.
Also on the show this week:
The Commonwealth Bank is up to pussies bow in hoax emails
Adam surfs the Google wave, and it seems good
The amazing world of controller free video games is here
Acer to offer Google's Android OS on netbooks and
Allegedly, Australian employees waste time on social networks! Say it's not true!
Advertising is a mugs game and telcos are the biggest mugs of all, followed closely by car sales and real estate. I know that's a generalization, but the last week has seen Australia's Consumer watch dog crack down on advertisements which misleading and confuse consumers.
It's about time the regulators changed the way advertisers dish up prices to consumers in this country. Obviously advertisers want us to buy, that's why they do what they do, but why not tell consumers the TOTAL COST of a purchase.
Take motor vehicles for example. “$29990 + dealer delivery and government statutory charges'. That can add thousands to the total purchase price. You could rephrase it “$1000 for the tyres + car + dealer delivery and government statutory charges”. It's a bit silly – I know – but it emphasizes Component Pricing – something rampant in real estate and motor vehicle advertising.
The ACCC recently clamped down on this sort of behavior in the telecommunications sector, so now they're moving on to other industries.
On May 25 the law in Australia changed. So what do the new laws require?
In short, where a corporation makes a price representation to consumers, it may only use a component price (part of the total price) if it also ‘prominently' specifies the ‘single (total) price' payable for the good or service (where a single figure price is quantifiable).
Let's see what happens now. Next the ACCC should target these bloody infuriating cash-back deals. They're on the rise at the moment and a complete pain in the you know what. Consumers have to jump through hoops and wait months to receive their offer – and why?
Why don't they just discount the product at the point of sale?
Laptops, PC's and software sales seem to be top of the cash back pile at the moment. What purpose does it server to either the manufacturer, distributor, reseller or consumer? None that I can see. So as the ACCC closes one door another opens.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner looks at the HTC's new offering here in Australia
Robert Broomhead from the Wireless Institute of Australia talks ACMA office closure in Perth and Adelaide and gives us an insight into Amateur Radio.
As you drive around the suburbs and towns of Australia, hard rubbish collections draw their fair share of old television sets and computer screens. You know the ones, the old CRT or Cathode Ray Tube displays.
Have you noticed in recent times, as we move towards digital television and lcd computer screens, the quantity of these devices on or nature strips is on the increase? A main component in these old CRT's is lead – a fairly toxic substance which you don't really want to mess with.
Currently there are national recycling programs, with the exception of a few small business incentives such as Mobile muster. So what do you do with the old 80cm TV which still works just fine?
For years the nation's old television sets and computers have been tossed out and ended up in landfill - 1.5million a year to be precise. But soon a new national scheme will give Australian's the option of recycling their old electronic equipment. In Tasmania last week, the Federal Environment Minister, Peter Garrett met with state environment ministers to discuss the worsening problem of e-waste. As with all meetings of this nature, the ministers agreed that there was a problem and a degree of urgency to set up what they hope will be a national program to recycle electronic waste where possible and adequately dispose of materials which can't be recycled.
Electronic waste can contain materials which are highly sort after. Copper, gold, and aluminum are three to name a few. There's also the issue of dangerous materials such as lead and arsenic which need to be disposed of correctly.
Australian TV suppliers have proposed a permanent national TV collection, recycling and community education scheme that could be ready to roll-out within six months. It would be funded solely by suppliers provided there is effective Federal regulatory underpinning to deal with free-riders or companies indifferent to their environmental obligations.
Australia needs to come into the 21st century.
Government needs to regulate sooner than later, and after last week's ministerial meeting, this could be done as soon as November this year. I guess it's a start.
For more information visit www.reborn.org.au
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner looks at the roll out of Digital Radio in Australia.
How 'bout storing all your movies on one DVD. Dr James Chon from Swinburne University tells how
China, Canada, Spain on copyright piracy watch list, and
A New, improved iPhone is expected next month! and
Cast your mind way back to the year 2000. We had the millennium bug, an Air France Concorde crashes near Paris, the US Supreme Court decides in favor of George W, Bush in split decision over 2000 Presidential election and Sony launched the PlayStation 2. Something that may have slipped your mind here in Australia is that the year 2000 was the start of terrestrial digital television in this country. This begs the question: How has digital TV evolved in this county over the past 9 and a half years?
Remember when the music went digital? Ten years after the launch of the Compact Disc, you'd need to be a detective to find an old vinal album in a shop anywhere, but visit your local white goods store here in Australia and you can still by an old analogue tv should you want.
The Australian Government didn't help the take up very much as they chose to offer protection to the then infant Foxtel, an upstart cable TV provider. Multi Channeling was strictly taboo for at least the first 5 years. When digital TV was launched, the government told everyone that the turn off of the analogue TV broadcasts would start in 2008. That would give everyone plenty of time to migrate to digital.
The ABC and SBS were the first broadcasters to start running different program on their alternate digital channels, but there were strict regulations as to what could be shown. It wasn't until January this year that the multi channeling law was relaxed, some 9 years after the inception of DVBH in this country.
A group consisting of the 5 free to air broadcasters got together and conceived Freeview, a somewhat misleading campaign which was launched in 2008 to promote 15 different TV channels free of charge to your TV via the airwaves. We're almost six months in to 2009 and what have we got to show for it? Not much. Channel10 now has one HD channels and 2 SD channels. Recently they launched One HD, a sporting channel where you can watch anything from basket ball to tiddlywinks. You can watch this on two out of three of these channels to the cost of a HD feed of their regular program.
The ABC are leading the pack, as per usual, with 1 HD channel and 3 SD channels. ABC1 and ABCHD run the same content, ABC 2 runs catch up TV and the odd first run, and ABC has just received funding for a 24 hour kids channel.
SBS also utilize the channels well with different programming across the board, but as for 7 and 9, they're not in any hurry to utilize their alternate channels.
To add salt to the digital wound, there seems to be a lot of confusion around technical standards for the delivery of digital TV in Australia only. Free TV Australia are shying away from the globally excepted MPG streams, and pushing for a new system called MHEG, something that only a couple of other countries are using. This in turn means manufacturers of domestic receivers are reluctant to make equipment for our market resulting in a shortage of devices such as PVR's.
So here we are, nearly 10 years away from the launch of digital TV in Australia, and six months away from the beginning of the shutdown of analogue tv and what have we got to show for it? No one government or organization is to blame, responsibility needs to be shared across many organizations, but one thing's for sure, other countries destined to go down the path of migration from analogue to digital television, can look to Australia's effort as an example of how not to do it.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner heads to CeBit to talk VOIP
Google trips of the power lead again
Sony and Pioneer are doing it tough
Dr Ron talks us through WolframAlpha
Conroy on the NBN backfoot over the oppositions threat to block the bill and
It's a sad indictment of organizations that try and lure consumers in, on what at face value, seems a pretty good deal, but then garrotes them with the fine print. Unfortunately this is all too common in the world of technology with broadband plans and mobile phone plans. It's becoming so much of a problem that the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has stepped up its policing in the local market.
Most of Australia's telcos have incurred the wroth of the ACCC over misleading and tricking consumers into buying their products and services, and currently attention is being focused on Dodo, the Melbourne based ISP which resells bandwidth bought from other telcos.
I suspect the ACCC's gaze will move again to Optus, as the company releases of new range of mobile phone caps, which, on the whole seems terrific, but it's only when you read the fine print, do you realise the trap that will snare those who choose not to study their plans in detail.
As reported by Cnet Optus Cap plans now come in four flavours: $19, $49, $59 and $79, with the two more expensive plans offering free SMS and MMS. The plans all offer generous call allowances too; the $49 and $59 offer $680 worth of calls per month, but only half of this allowance can be used on local and national calling (what Optus calls Optus2Anyone). The other half of the allowance is dedicated to Optus2Optus calls for calling other Optus GSM mobile numbers and Optus fixed line phone numbers, and can only be spent after the first half of your spend has been reached.
This means that before you reach the first $330 of calling allowance each month your calls to other Optus customers are counted as Optus2Anyone, and after you've exceeded $330 you'll only be able to call Optus customers for the rest of the month, or be billed at the standard call rate for your plan — 80 cents per minute on the $49 and $59 plans.
After comparison with others, the ambiguity of what Optus is offering becomes obvious. Separating the call value of Optus2Optus calls from standard calls is a great idea for a capped plan, but not letting Optus customers spend Optus2Optus credit at the same time they spend Optus2Anyone credit is sneaky at best. As is advertising the not-factually-incorrect "$680 worth of calls".
So as the 120mm cannons of the ACCC warship take focus on Optus, here's a timely reminder to consumers to remember if it looks too good to be true, then it probably is, and when it comes to telcos be sure to read the fine print, because once you've signed the contract that's it. You may be in 2 years(or more) of hell.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner shares his Star Trek experience on the 3rd biggest
movie screen in the world...
eBay takes on iTunes in the online music game
Jeff Gates tells us all about Media Servers
Which media server is best for you?
Telsta's guard changes again and
The release candidate of Microsoft's new Operating system windows 7 is now a week old so we'll take a look at its reception in the broader community.
Remember when the humble mobile phone was just that – a device for making and receiving telephone calls while out and about? Its evolution into what we now call a smart phone over the past few years has been nothing short of amazing to watch, as these small ubiquitous devices have mastered the power of music, television, photography, GPS navigation, and more recently, relatively high speed internet access.
The world of communications is now virtually at our finger tips, and one of the biggest leg ups for these smart phones in recent times has been the Apple iPhone, a phone which has become a ‘must have' accessory for millions of people around the world.
With the iPhone comes the apps store, a one stop authorized shop for iPhone users to expand the possibilities of their device and turn it into something much more than a telephone, something unique and personal. One of the best thing that iPhone has done, is brought about competition in the mobile phone sector the likes of which we've never seen before. What with Nokia, Blackberry and Sony Ericsson all vying for a piece of the action, we're starting to see the phone manufacturers compete in the biggest competition of all, the seamless integration of all these technologies into our lives. So who's going to win?
Currently there are three different operating systems for modern day smart phones, Apple's OS 3.0, Symbian's s60 and of course Microsoft's Windows Mobile. Stand alone, they're all terrific and if you just want a mobile phone to make and receive calls, they're all pretty much identical. But when it comes to running applications and multi-tasking - that's running many apps at once, then there's a need to choose your OS carefully, as not all are the same.
Another fantastic benefit of today's modern smart phone is the ability to bring your desktop lifestyle to your phone. Some devices do it better than others, but with nearly all providers providing internet access these days, the time has definitely come to embrace these phones for what they truly can do. The automatic seamless synchronization of contacts and appointments from home to office and smart phone is now a reality. Add a new contact to your phone and it magically finds its way to your desktop applications and vice versa. How “today” is that! Well let's take that a step further.
For years now Telco's have been living in fear of voice over IP products such as Skype.
They've seen more and more voice traffic head down this path because it's cheaper than making a traditional voice call on fixed or mobile telephone lines, and because there's no distance issue, there's no real cost issue. So let's marry the smart phone with mobile broadband to Skype, and what do we get? A marriage made in heaven.
No longer do you pay a flag fall and per 30 seconds for a call, if your friends are Skype enabled it costs virtually nothing to talk as long as you like to anywhere in the world from your mobile phone.
Take Nokia's s60 enabled E71 handset. Load up the Skype application; get yourself a free regular Skype account and your phone doubles as a phone and a Skype client. Friends can call you on your mobile phone from anywhere in the world for free instead of paying for the use of a traditional phone circuit. By now you're thinking – what's the catch, why would the phone companies allow you to do this? Honestly, I don't know. But it's here and now so let's us it.
In Australia, Hutchison's 3 network have an $8 per month data add on which also give you 4000 minutes of Skype talk time. In the UK, it's soon to be free and unlimited if it's not already. The smart phones treat Skype just like any other telephone call. If someone calls you while you're on a call, Skype or mobile, your caller will get to leave a voice message as per normal.
It's a truly remarkable marriage of mobile phones with broadband and VoIP, and the audio quality – well, you'd be hard pressed to tell the difference. So as we head into a world of being truly connected, maybe it's time for the Telco's to rethink the role of the humble mobile phone – no longer will we be buying call time, they're now mobile data terminals with the power of desktop computing at our fingertips.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner has mixed success downloading movies with TiVo
Windows 7 set to come online sooner than later,
Apple to make their own chips and
Conroy reckons the NBN will be cheaper than first thought
With the pending roll out of Australia's National Broadband Network, the shake up and fall out of the telecommunications industry continues. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said the project would be fast tracked, meaning the construction of the backhaul component of the project, that is, the telecommunications links that connect suburbs together could start as early as September this year.
The announcement a few weeks ago by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd that the Government would ‘go it alone' in building the network came as a surprise to many, and probably none more so, than the current players in the Australian Telecommunications Landscape.
The government would create an entity to roll out the NBN which would be 51% government owned, leaving the remaining 49% open for interested parties to buy into the project to a level of no more than 15%.
Many rejoiced in the realization that this would be the end of Telstra's monopolistic approach to communications in Australia, others in the fact that this was the largest infrastructure project in Australia for decades. Parallels were drawn to the building of the snowy river scheme and the national road system.
The reality is that the copper that runs to every house in Australia, is about to be replaced with a fibre optic in the next several years, moving Australia well and truly into the modern, connected world of the 21st century. A delivery platform that should last well and truly beyond our life times. But let's look at the current dilemmas faced by the telcos.
Telstra has never been as quite as they are right now. With the exodus of the three amigos and their hench men, and the governments new NBN plans, the monopolistic and arrogant attitude of the company is being humbled by the leveling of the playing field, something that Telstra has never had to deal with until now.
Separation of Telstra's retail and wholesale businesses is almost a certainty something that the telco has been dead set against for the past few years, in fact, it was the underlying reason why it didn't tender a valid bid to build the NBN. It wanted a guarantee from the government that it wouldn't be separated a guarantee that was not forthcoming.
The NBN announcement has also had a major impact on the business plans of smaller telcos. ISP IPrimus has all but given up the installation of new DSLAMs, now preferring to quadruple its coverage area for ADSL2+ by doing a deal with Telstra to resell its ADSL2 products. This begs the question What about the other ISPs?
What incentives do they now have in rolling out expensive DSLAMs on a copper network which will soon be redundant. Will other ISPs go the way of IPrimus? If so, what happens to competition in the next 5 years or so, will Telstra win by default? Time will tell, but it seems that the rocky road of broadband in Australia will remain unmade for the next few years at least.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner takes a look ICE TV's high court win over the nine network
It was Google last week, this week it's Microsoft's turn for profits head south
Apple red faced over an offensive game which made it to their online store
We find out all about the technology behind Blue Track
At what point in your personal life do you find that you no longer control the technology in your life, but it controls you? I mean, when was the last time you did a technology census in your home?
Why not stop and think for a moment about a few simple questions.
How many remote controls do you have in the basket on the coffee table that do exactly the same thing?
How many active SIM cards do you have for mobile communications in the family?
What is the ratio of humans to computers in the household?
What is your primary source of music in the house hold – CDs or a file server?
And while on the subject of servers, how many do you have at your place?
If the ratio of technology to humans in your household is greater than 1, then chances are you a victim of technology! So what can be done about it, and more importantly, do you want to do anything about it?
Now while we're on the subject of technology, how addicted are you to today's internet? Do you think you can go cold turkey and switch off all your gadgets without doing yourself or someone else for that matter some serious harm?
Relax, because help is at hand! The team at netaddiction.com have put together a little survey to help you come to terms with your alleged problems. It's a 20-item questionnaire that measures mild, moderate, and severe levels of Internet Addiction.
So if you've ever wondered if the internet is just something you can now no longer live without, or if someone near and dear to you is just beyond help, then do the test and know once and for all.
Also on the show this week:
Adam Turner takes a look at the latests confusion over Freeview..
Google profits head south
We take a look at the changing face of Australian Broadband and
Microsoft's Martin Gregory joins the panel to talk about a new initiative to get small business it's own server.
Well, no matter where Google go these days it seem almost lay down misere (Australian Slang something that is a certainty) that controversy will follow. Street view is no exception and the good folk of Broughton, in Buckinghamshire, England, don't want a bar of it.
The Google Street View car (pictured above) was blocked from filming last week by angry residents, led by Paul Jacobs, who alerted neighbours after spotting the car from his window. Mr Jacobs called police, who arrived to find a crowd in dispute with the Google driver, but the car moved on.
And while on the subject of funny, it seems that Australian technology humor is alive and well, well at least on April fool's day last week. There were many spoofs which went past as blatant tom foolery, and then there were some that made you stop and wonder. Really? No. On opening up my mail client on that fateful Wednesday morning I was greeted with the headline “Conroy dumped as minister for broadband” What? Really? But the PM is out of the country… then it clicked! Ahhhh, April Fool's day.
Having almost had my first cup of coffee for the morning I wondered what other gems were going to pass by on an occasion that tends to allow the normally stiff upper lip media commentators an opportunity to let their hair down, and publish headlines which would normally never see the light of day.
I continued to read the piece on Conroy's supposed dismissal by staff writers at the ISP and Telecommunications industry discussion site.Whirlpool.net.au. “Conroy has come under increasing fire in recent weeks as the figurehead for the government's ISP level filtering plan and the national broadband network (NBN).” That he did. “The move leaves the government's unpopular ISP filtering plan up in the air. Conroy had recently appeared on both the ABC and SBS to champion the policy, where he met significant opposition from panelists and the studio audience.” Which also was true!
It wasn't long before computerworld.com.au entered the fray. In an article published by reporter Darren Pauli, he reported that Telstra had announced it would split its retail and wholesale arms if it won the $4.7 billion National Broadband Network following secret talks with communications minister Stephen Conroy. Gullible readers swallowed the bait, so much so that the article caused a spike in Telstra shares. Ahhh, Oooops. What do you thing the ASIC would say about this?
And then by late afternoon it was ZDnet's turn to give us all heart palpitations by publishing that Conroy had awarded the NBN deal to a Surprise group of bidders - a secretive consortium backed by the wealthy Packer and Murdoch families. Packer and Murdoch in a JV? Not in my lifetime I thought. As I read on, it became more and more fanciful, to a point where it just had to be read aloud to the whole Tech Talk office.
The report stated: “Packer said the group had headhunted well-known technology executive and entrepreneur Jodee Rich to lead the new consortium, which would be known as "One.Tel". Fellow Australian technology luminary Brad Keeling will act as the executive team's liaison with its board.”
By this stage in the afternoon, I was enlightened to think that in these times of gloom and doom, we have one national figure that we could rely on in Australia for a good laugh, one person who's credibility shines above all others, one who is a key player in all three stories that caught my eye this day, the right honorable senator Stephen Conroy! What a national treasure. And like all national Australian treasures, let's sell him off. Seems he's already found his way to eBay on this fateful first day of April in 2009.
This week on TTR
Conroy up for sale on eBay, but at what price?
Adam Turner asks when does a notebook cease to be a notebook.
The ACCC takes issue with Voda-Hutch merger
Hutchison's 3 announces their roaming deal with Telstra and
Scientists build the world's most powerful laser
Last week I mentioned a storm was brewing over the parliamentary offices of the minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital economy, Senator Steven Conroy. Last Thursday night on the ABC's Q&A program, the winds of change started to whip up a cynical audience into a feeding frenzy as they hoped to hear directly from the minister, exactly what he had in store for Australian's and how it was going to affect them.
What we saw was an audience which had almost turned into a sea of hecklers, and not for reasons of anger, but for what appeared to be loss of interest and confidence in the Minister. As with most politicians, the rhetoric flowed, but as the discussion continued, the embarrassing ministerial gaffs kept flowing, almost to a point where the minister was laughed down.
To add insult to injury, the Office of Film and Literature Classification (the OFLC), the organisation which the government considers the definitive source of what is good or otherwise, had its website hacked just moments before the minister made his television appearance.
The pièce de résistance from Senator Conroy was when he was asked whether he would consider publishing the black list to which he responded that publishing the list would defeat the purpose of having a list – a genuine conundrum. The irony of Conroy's comments wasn't lost on the audience, nor the show's host Tony Jones.
It wasn't the only embarrassment for Conroy, who was forced to concede that a mistake had been made blocking a website carrying images of controversial works by nude photographer Bill Henson, and of course the Russian Mafia were behind the inclusion of a Queensland dentist. This wore particularly thin with the crowd becoming more cynical by the moment.
Conroy said that the dentist site "had been a good bit of fun this week" The half hour that was given to the topic on Q&A concluded with a rather frustrated minister trying to get the governments message home. You'll hear all about it later in Tech Talk Radio.
Microsoft's leak Windows 7 Release Candidate
Google feel the pinch of the GFC with staff sackings
Adam Turner asks if Bluray's days are numbered
As Daylight saving draws to a close, what's in store for our various gadgets which keep time for us and
More highlights from Senator Conroy's recent grilling on the ABC's Q&A program.
A storm is brewing over the parliamentary offices of the minister for Broadband Communications and the Digital economy, Senator Steven Conroy. One of the 2007 election promises of the Rudd government is seemingly becoming a little more problematic than first thought. Protecting our children on line at first glance seems to be a noble and proper thing to do, but what's now becoming evident, is the problems associated with implementing such a policy and spinning it in such a way, that is has a positive connotation - that is protection of our kids – how can that be bad? On the other side of the coin, you have that ugly word censorship – a word that no politician would ever want to use in context with homeland policy. OK, nice idea, now let's implement it.
So the first thing Senator Conroy needs is cooperation with those organizations providing the community with connectivity to the internet. There are two possible outcomes here, a positive – “yeah sure”, we can help with that, or a ‘you've got to be kidding – “bugger off”. What do you think the result would be? History now shows that the latter was the response of all the major ISP's. Some (iiNet) even offered to help out to prove that what the minister was proposing simply wouldn't work. Funnily enough, that offer was not taken up by the minister's office.
Late last year, a list was finally published containing the names of six small ISP's who the government had chosen to be the guinea pigs in its Australia wide filtering system. The next, and possibly most dangerous part of this whole process was to start compiling a list of websites that would be blocked by these ISPs. This onerous task was given to ACMA, the Australian Communications and Media Authority. This list, in anyone's terms would be a black list. A list that, if it ever found its way into the public arena, would be extremely detrimental to the governments cause because it would be considered a “censorship” list – a list of sites that the Rudd government didn't want you see.
Last week the inevitable happened, this list became public through the website Wikileak.
Not only does it look like the government need legislation for ISP compliance in the implementation of this filter, but it's now under criticism about what is on and not on the list, the list that was supposed to protect our children online, and the lack of security surrounding the list. On one hand the government doesn't want to be seen as censors of the internet, and on the other it wants block access to sites which it believes is detrimental to the nation. The two concepts are mutually exclusive.
There seems to be a growing resistance to the Rudd Government's policy both from many factions of society within Australia. At what point does the government reevaluate its policy? At the moment getting any form of legislation through the senate to force ISPs to comply seems to be lost cause, so what rabbit is Conroy going to pull from his hat? Chances are the hat is empty, and his deck of cards was four cards short. The good news is he's still has the joker, which he just might have to play to disperse the perfect storm.
This week on TTR
Susan McLean, former Victoria Police Officer, who was Victoria Police's first ‘Cyber Cop', joins the panel to discuss the current trends in cyber bullying. Susan has a 27 background in law enforcement and is considered an expert in the area of cyber safety and young people.
Microsoft's IE8 officially hits the streets,
Lidija Davis talks Facebook and
Adam Turner joins us live in the studio.
Last week Telsta announce a $300M upgrade to its cable system in Melbourne by installing DOCSIS 3.0, which will be the first stage of a national rollout. DOCSIS has been around since 2006 and stands for data over cable service interface specification, and is the software needed to use hybrid fibre coaxial cable (HFC) for symmetric internet services. So is this the beginning of the end of the federal governments National Broadband Network? Some columnists believe it is.
It's easy to be cynical about the motives behind Telstra's non compliant bid to be part of the National Broadband Network, but history will show that Telstra, like Apple, have always had the approach to business that they will do it when and how they want, in a time that suits them and most definitely following no one else's agenda. The NBN is no different to Telstra.
Already Australia's incumbent Telco has a RF broadband network far faster than its competitors, and with coverage that far exceeds anyone else's as well. This also seems set to double by the end of the year from 21Mbs to 48Mbs. Add to this the Cable upgrade in metro areas to 100 Mbs and it makes the governments 12 Mbs look like dial up.
What's interesting is that Telstra seem to be looking to move their customers off the copper unbundled local loop to cable, something that does not fall under regulation. So what will happen to the maintenance of the copper once the migration ramps up? Let me answer a question with a question, Why would anyone maintain something they had no need or use for anymore?
Australia has two cable networks covering about 2.5 million of those houses and businesses in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast. One of them - the Optus one - is in mothballs because ULL ADSL also levels the playing field with Telstra and makes more sense, cost-wise. And as Alan Kohler said in Business Spectator last week, there's one thing Telstra hates, and that's a level playing field - thus the $300 million on DOCSIS 3.0 for its cable in Melbourne, with the rest of the network to come.
To get a return on this investment, Telstra will work hard to switch all of those customers over to cable and away from copper, which means there won't be enough customers left to make it worth spending money on nodes in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and chucking away all the existing ADSL equipment in the exchanges - especially considering how hard it is to raise money these days.
High speed broadband is on the way for some of us, albeit in Telstra time, but the longer Conroy procrastinates over the NBN, the bigger the egg will be that will ultimately find its way to the governments face.
This week on TTR
Adam Turner looks at the looming competition for
Is Twitter on the market?
Choice finds biggest tech rip-offs
Charging batteries just got a whole lot faster and
The World Wide Web turns 20
In these days of instant information at the click of a button, would it surprise you that governments around the world are becoming more and more concerned as to what their citizens are accessing online?
The Australian Government counts itself amongst some of these nations, and what's more, their attempt to protect Australians online seems to gphping its last breath. With the trial of internet filtering being offered to all ISPs, the government chose to test the technology with only six of the smallest.
The Government's plan to introduce mandatory internet censorship was effectively scuttled last month, thanks to independent Nick Xenophon's decision to join the Greens and Opposition in blocking any legislation required to get the scheme started.
With the Australian internet filtering bill now hopefully dead in the water, it's timely to look at some of the other countries which actively participate in internet censorship. Two that come to mind are China and the United Arab Emirates. It's as obvious as the nose on your face, that some governments just don't want citizens to see things, either for political or moral reasons, but in these hi-tech days, there's normally ways around things.
To draw attention to internet censorship, Reporters Without Borders is throwing its first annual International Day against Cyber-Censorship on March 12. The organization will stage VIRTUAL PROTESTS against the jailing of "cyber dissidents" and blocked Web sites in countries where riot-control goons would crack your head if you actually protested there for real such as North Korea, and China.
You'll be able to choose an avatar, and make a protest sign. The virtual protest sounds like a safe alternative to actually protesting, but Reporters Without Borders says "many Internet users will be taking a risk to demonstrate online." The protest starts at 11am Paris time March 12 and lasts for 24 hours.
This week on TTR
Adam Turner, a recent convert to Apple, is preying to the Cupertino gods for a sign of bluray.
Twitter again rises to prominence with last Fridays Magnitude 4.7 Melbourne Earthquake
Optus parent SingTel and technology retailers JB Hi-Fi have been promoted to the Standard and Poor's ASX 100 and
Ad agency director, Photographer and philathopist Michel Lawrence joins us live in the studio to talk about digital photography
Last Thursday Telstra CEO Sol Trujillo, possibly the most despised CEO in Australian corporate history, told the Telstra board and the shareholders that he would finish up at the end on June 30, 2009 and would not stay on as the CEO of the company. Trujillo announced his departure on the same morning Telstra announced a first-half net profit of $1.92 billion, down from $1.94 billion in the previous corresponding half.
The news was received by a range of sectors with one underlying message, Good bye and good riddance. It could also be argued that Trujillo's reign has not been a happy time for shareholders: Telstra's share price has fallen from $5.07 on the day he was appointed chief executive in July 2005 to around $3.73 at the time of his announcement.
Australian Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, when asked about Sols planned returned to the US, responded with “Adios Amigo” with an undertone that typified the feelings of most Australians.
A senior research analyst from stockbroking firm EL and C Baillieu, Ivor Ries, says Mr Trujillo will be best remembered for his outspoken stance against the regulator and both the former and current Federal Governments.
He said “In terms of public perception, he and his colleagues, Phil Burgess etc, were seen as real stirrers and trouble makers and I'm not sure whether it actually helped improve the Telstra brand at all, but as far as the major shareholders were concerned, they were happy with the way he behaved and what he did."
The Union representing 12,000 Telstra employees says it hopes Mr Trujillo's resignation will lead to a change of attitude within the company about ongoing wage negotiations. And change is what the company now needs more than ever.
Return to the shareholders were nearly always at the top of Sol's adgenda. Everything he did was always spun back for the good of the share holders, so for this, he was to be admired. His undoing was his misunderstanding that the shareholders were Australian, and Australia was falling backwards in technological advancements compared to the rest of the world because of his policies. If he was doing it for the country then he would be doing it for shareholders. But alas, it wasn't to be.
Instead, he leaves Telstra, and the country with more than $20m in his pocket for the years work, and in his wake, a company which is now despised by most Australians, share prices that have never been lower, and more disheartend, disgruntelled and apathetic employees than you can count.
His departure news comes one month after Telstra announced chief operations officer Greg Winn was leave the company to return to the United States.
This week on TTR
Adam shares his thoughts on Twitter and Face Book
Dr Ron invests in an Android
Internode launches 100Mbit fibre to the home
Google explains Gmail troubles and
Google pledges to support EU's Microsoft case
Mobile communications is back in the news this week with Telstra trumpeting the launch of the new 21MBs next G mobile phone network. But what does it mean to those using the mobile network? Well… not much. Marketing departments love touting the maximum possible. Included in Telstra's press release was a report from a company called Concept economics – not to be confused with access economics, the governments preferred supplier of statistical and analytical information.
According to the report, Concept economics define Next G as a 3G digital mobile network that can achieve very high data transfer speeds (for a mobile network) of up to 21 Mbps burst speed.3 This compares favorably to the maximum ADSL broadband speeds currently available in many rural and remote, and some urban, areas. The Next G network is also faster than other Australian 3G
Networks. For example, Optus' 3G/HSPA network has typical speeds of between 512 kbps
and 1.5 Mbps, and has a theoretical maximum speed of 3.6 Mbps.
A somewhat misleading comparison between the two telecommunications providers. Telstra is spruiked at speeds of up to 21 Mbps per second – the unachievable maximum, versus Optus's typical, achievable speeds of up to 1.5 Mbps, and this is on the first few pages of the 61 page document. There's nothing like an even playing field when it comes to comparing horses for courses, but then again, we are talking Telstra here. One has to ask if Concept Economics is a division of the Telstra marketing department.
In other Telco news this week, Hutchison's 3 managed to lure some 5000 disgruntled iPhone users away from the Telstra, Optus and Vodaphone networks. Not bad for a company that doesn't sell Apple's iconic mobile phone and who also posted yet another loss of $163.1m for the full year to December 31 2008. It will be interesting to see how 3 and Vodafone pair up being the two biggest loss generating tacos.
And while we're on the subject of mobile phones, have you tried buying a handset that meets your requirements these days? Ever since the iPhone hit the market, it seems like the major manufactures' of handsets has dropped the ball. Very few handsets have emerged over the past year and those that have, have been less than enticing. So what's going on? Is it the evolution of net books and iPhones that has brought about the demise of the humble mobile phone? Maybe demise is too strong a word, but seriously – try replacing your current handset with something that works for you. Maybe the manufacturers need a stimulus package as well.
This week on TTR
Grace Kerrison, director of Microsoft's Mobile Communications Business in Australia tells us about the latest microsoft mobile habits survey
Adam shares his thoughts on Telstra's next G upgrade and files a report from Queensland where he's attending the Media Connect Kickstart Conference and speaks to Ruslan Kogan and Mark Helvadjian the General Manager Consumer platforms group at Yahoo 7.
Sol Trujillo puts an ad in the lost and found column
Choice (an Australian consumer protection group) wants to code of practice to be introduced to protect users from rogue ring tones.
One week ago, the worst fires in Australian history destroy the lives of many Victorians, wiped several towns including Marysville and Flowerdale, off the map, and redefined disbelief in the eyes of many Australians, and people around the world.
On what is now known as Black Saturday, some reports said that Victoria was the hottest place on earth, reaching 46.2 degrees at the official bureau of Meteorology measuring station in the CBD, but reaching temperatures in the low 50's in outer lying suburbs and rural areas. Add to this the fatal mixture of a strong northerly wind, plenty of forest fuel and a few arsonists, and the state was set to burn.
What happened next has now been indelibly etched into Australian History. The massive loss of life and property has never been seen on a scale like this before, and, as we go to air today, fires are still burning in some of the most beautiful countryside in the Country.
As Australian's come to terms with life in the post Black Saturday era, attention will now turn to rebuilding communities and lives which were decimated in few short moments on February 7. Communication – it's success and failures, is just one topic up for discussion. Telstra, Australia's incumbent telco, was hit hard. Its infrastructure badly damaged where it was needed most. Telephone exchanges and mobile phone base stations were wiped out, just as fast as houses.
So what can we learn from the experience? In these early days it would be naive to jump to any conclusions, after all, that's what the royal commission will do, but now is the time to discuss ways that will better prepare us for the next fire which unfortunately in this country is inevitable. It's clear that people in the path of such fires need clear and concise information to help them make the best decision at the time. This needs to be delivered in a timely mannor with the least amount of impact on the telephony services.
A recent report reveals the Federal and the states Governments baulked at the $20 million cost of a telephone-based alert system that would have given early warning of the deadly Black Saturday bushfires. The confidential review for Victoria's State Emergency Service in December 2007, obtained by The Australian Newspaper, reveals that the technology to bombard mobile and fixed phones with danger messages had been trialled successfully for the agency.
While the test run of Telstra's Community Information and Warning System was for flooding, the Victorian SES found it would work "for all types of hazard", including bushfire. Despite this, the system was not introduced because the Howard government and the states bickered over the expense.
Hindsight is a truly wonderful thing. The now $100m plus donations and the cost to government to rebuild these shattered communities, makes the shared bill of $20m pale into insignificance.
This week on TTR
Dr Ron talks to Alan Eade, Chief Professional Officer, and Chief Paramedic, for St John Ambulance Australia about his organizations perspective of the events of last week.
Kit Webster from RMIT is a new media artist based. He's holding an exhibition this week entitled Dataflux that's based around the fusion of art and technology.
We'll also take a look at the role twitter could have played with the Victorian bushfires, and Adam Turner lets us in on a new approach by one of Australia's commercial television networks promoting peer to peer file sharing of content of all things. Yes you did hear me right – they're encouraging it!
On Saturday February 7 Victoria recorded it's hottest day on record with temperatures in the Melbourne CBD climbing to 46.2 degrees Celsius or 115 on the old scale.
Not since the Ash Wednesday fires on February 16 1983 has South Eastern Australia seen anything like it. Then more than 180 fires fanned by winds of up to 110 km per hour caused widespread destruction across the state and taking the lives of 47 people. The largest fires generated their own weather systems and thunderstorms, showing up on the bureau of meteorology's weather radar as huge smoke drifts.
VICTORIAN Premier John Brumby has described the ferocious bushfires that killed many people, injured many more and ravaged much of the state today as "the worst day in our history".
In addition to the human toll, technology around the state also took a hammering. Demand on the CFA website as well as the Department of Sustainability and Environment website virtually ground the information sites to a halt. Users on the DSE site were asked, due to unprecedented demand on the website that people who do not need to access this information for reasons of personal safety, please refrain from doing so.
Even the Vicroads web server was not immune. With nearly all the major roads closed in the central and eastern parts of the state, requests for road closure information led the site to crash with an upgrade message being displayed to many users.
Telephony in the area has been hit hard as well with the destruction of many mobile base stations as well as telephone exchanges. The Taggerty Telephone Exchange was one such exchange destroyed by fire resulting in landline phones not working to the south of Taggerty. The mobile phone network also experienced high demand with callers failing to initiate a calls and excessive call drops.
Telstra today announced a relief package for its residential and small business customers in Victoria who have been forced from their homes or whose phone services have been affected by the bush fires.
Under the package Telstra is offering its affected customers free call diversion from their fixed line to another fixed or mobile service of their choice and mobile calls charged at fixed line rates, in accordance with their selected HomeLine® or BusinessLine® plan, for local and STD® calls made on their mobile service, in situations where Telstra mobile customers have been evacuated from their homes or who have lost their service due to the fires.
This week on TTR
Australians have no problems with pirated software?
The US again delays the Switch to Digital TV to June 12
Google launch Latitude, yet another social mapping program
And we take a fresh look at a new friend, Twitter
Google Dilemmas with Malware and Deer, Apple TV, National Broadband Network, Telstra and Sol, Bluray, Freeview and more...
February 2 , 2009
For our first show back for 2009, we'll be taking a look at the news and events that have caught our attention since Christmas. The Global Financial Crisis is playing havoc with the worlds suppliers of technology, both goods and services. No one seems to escaped the downturn. With companies like Sony, Microsoft, and ebay all reeling in the downturn, what's going to happen next? How will the GFC affect us at home and what of jobs?
In other news, the Federal government is scheduled to announce who gets to build Australia's controversial National Broadband Network. The on again off again internet filtering tests are back on, maybe. As we prepare for the first show of 2009, news has surfaced overnight that the search has officially begun to replace Telstra's globetrotting chief executive, Sol Trujillo, fueling speculation the American could return to his homeland before his fourth anniversary in the job on July 1.
Mr Trujillo, who was in Davos, Switzerland last week for the World Economic Forum, did not reject speculation that he could be planning to leave after the company's board appointed the executive recruitment firm Egon Zehnder International to search for his replacement.
So as we embrace 2009, stick with us for what will be an entertaining and informative take on technology that affects as all.
This week on TTR
Sony hits rock bottom
An ISP who disconnects uses suspected of breaching copyright
Adam sheds some light on freeview and
Bluray prices fall as the medium gains momentum
Episode 04/2009 - TX: January 26 2009 (Ep 216)
Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2008/9 Episode 8 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...
Episode 03/2009 - TX: January 19 2009 (Ep 215)
Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2008/9 Episode 7 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...
Episode 02/2009 - TX: January 12 2009 (Ep 214)
Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2008/9 Episode 6 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...
Episode 01/2009 - TX: January 5 2009 (Ep 213)
Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2008/9 Episode 5 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...