Tech Talk Radio Shows 2010 - Past Shows

Did you miss one? Below you'll find all of our previous shows.
Please be aware that shows will be available for download the day after live transmission.

Podcast Files:
On average, 64kb Mono MP3s are about 25Mb per hour. The average podcast file is about 30 to 40Mb
 
Full 2 hour show:
Two hour show files are 100 to 300mb downloads. Files are 128kbs MP3s or 320kbs and are available for download early Tuesday. The length of these vary, but are about 2 hours. The contain music played between breaks without station id's so they can be run on stations wanting a 2 hour format.
 
Low Bandwidth Files for Dial-up and mobile:
Be sure to visit the Tech Talk Rado Mobi Site for light weight (small) files of the whole show
 
Looking for 2009 shows? Visit the 2009 download page.
 
Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2010/11
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It's time the team took a break, so the best of Tech Talk Radio will be with you over the Summer Holidays. Sit back, relax by the pool or under a palm tree, enjoy Dr Ron's quality music programming and re-live some of the highlights from the past 6 years.

Show 52 / Summer Series 2010/11 Ep 3 Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show


Show 51 / Summer Series 2010/11 Ep 2 Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show


Show 50 / Summer Series 2010/11 Ep 1 Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show

    Note: Downloads may not be available until Tuesday morning

Episode 49/2010 - TX: December 6 2010 (Ep 309)
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For this final edition of Tech Talk Radio for 2010, we'll take a look back at the events, and gadgets that changed our lives in 2010. Federal politics has certainly been high on the agenda this year with the incumbent Labor government returned by doing deals with the independents, predominantly over the proposed National Broadband Network. Most Australians, even if they don't quite understand the technology behind the NBN, will hopefully be able to thank today's independents for their belief in future proofing Australia's aging copper network with fibre optics.

Back 150 or so odd years ago, I wonder what the opposition government of the time thought about rolling out copper to every part of Australia. I bet they didn't realize the longevity and broad range of services which are now provided over the forlorn twisted pair.

Also, 2010 has seen our global village become even smaller thanks to the world's online connectivity. Never before have we all be so connected, which has only spurred Australia's Communications Minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, on to protect our vulnerable netizens, by trying to roll out the great internet wall of Australia. His efforts have so far been in vein, with objections from civil libertarian groups and freedom of speech groups, and political hurdles and blocks being put up by many members of the Australian Parliament.

In the consumer world, the delivery of new and exciting gadgets to make our world just that little bit easier, along with new technology has been quite relentless in 2010. Probably the coolest and the biggest “must have' gadget for the year is Apple's iPad. The device, which hit the US stores on April 3 this year, sold over 2 million units in the first two months.

The device pushed the Apple brand to new heights but only for a short time until Cupertino released the iPhone 4. The now infamous death grip, for all its beat up, was really only an American phenomenon, which only really reflected the poor state of the US mobile phone network. Here in Australia, you had to be several floors down in an underground car park at a suburban shopping Centre on substandard network before the death grip dropped your call as tested by our very own Adam Turner.

As for broadband in Australia, mobile broadband speeds became faster, and coverage better, especially if you we with Telstra. The NBN was switched on in Tasmania, and ADSL speeds and coverage didn't change very much at all. The only thing that did fall, and in some cases by large amounts, was the price to access broadband. Competition was definitely a winner in 2010 but it wasn't all plane sailing. Telstra bit the bullet and became incredibly competitive, thanks to the probable split of retail and wholesale services. Optus became the king of misleading advertising, 3 and Vodafone began rolling out the VHA brand.

Microsoft launched Phone 7 as well as it's latest incarnation of Office and IE9, Facebook the movie hit our cinema screens around the same time as social networking site launched it's new mail system. Apple changed the look and feel of it's range of iMusic Gadgets, Blockbuster Video went belly up in the US, and Google said goodbye to Wave and it's creator Lars Rasmussen who jumped ship and went to Facebook.

It was also the year that digital TV began to be switched off in Australia. Not only did the analogue shutdown commence, but sadly High Definition channels paid the price and were relegated as second grade citizens, no longer fit to carry their respective broadcasters primary content. ABC TV turned channel 20 to 24 so we could see news footage from smart phones in HD, 7's HD became a mate, and 9's became a Gem. In Andy Warhol's terminology 3D TV had it's 15 minutes of fame, iiNet had a win in common sense in its pitched battle with the movie houses, and according to Australia's Prime Minister, the opposition is just a bunch of Luddites.

Finally, Collingwood needed two goes to win the AFL Grand Final but technology lost interest in the second bout, only to be seen in Standard Definition on free to air TV. So that was 2010, and now it's time to sit back and relax as we look forward to putting our feet up for the festive season, which is what we're about to do, live from Sophia's family restaurant in Burwood Highway East Burwood.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • We take a look at the year that was, it's highs and lows, the good and the bad.
  • Adam Turner brings his couch to the people
  • Lidija Davis joins us live from the United States
  • We'll mix and mingle with Tech Talk listeners from near and far and
  • we'll have some last minute tech suggestions and ideas to get you through this holiday season

  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show Note: Downloads may not be available until Tuesday morning

Episode 48/2010 - TX: November 29 2010 (Ep 308)
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Last Friday the Senate finally passed the bill for structural separation of Telstra's wholesale and retail arms, which opens up the way for one of the Government's key election promises, the continued rollout of the national broadband network. Telstra's retail and wholesale split is a key part of the establishment of the Government's $35.7 billion National Broadband Network.

Steven Conroy The legislation passed the Senate by 30 to 28 votes after days of protracted and angry debate with the support of the Greens and independent senators Nick Xenophon and Steve Fielding.

Ironically, the governor of the Reserve Bank Glenn Stevens appeared before a parliamentary committee and argued in favour of a cost benefit analysis of the network, something the government has been reluctant to provide on the basis of commercial interests currently awaiting comment from Australia's consumer watchdog, the ACCC.

So what does the structural separation of Telstra mean to Australians? Despite the Howard government's 1997 reforms to the Telecommunication Act, which introduced so called competition into the market such as Optus, the landscape for consumers has been grim with Telstra exploiting its monopoly as the buyer and seller of wholesale services to gouge the public and its struggling rivals.

Senator Steven Conroy says the reforms are necessary because dealing with Telstra's rip-offs is an unavoidable reality. In many cases, Telstra has been nabbed charging its flailing wholesale customers such as Dodo, and Freshtel more than it charges everyday punters for phone and internet services advertised in the paper. Some commentators have drawn parallels of competition saying it's like Woolworths owning all the farms and factories in the country.

In the past, the idea was that different retailers could access to Telstra's network at a fair price. In theory, if Telstra was uncooperative, the retailers could force Telstra's hand, resulting in costly legal fights, but little in the way of reform.

Conroy's plans would create one network company, regulated to ensure competition, as opposed to the current farce where the network is controlled exclusively by Telstra. The network, perhaps partially owned by the government, would then sell wholesale services to any number of competing retail companies. Households would be able to choose Telstra, among several other carriers, but without the conflicts of the current arrangements.

So looking at the sums, NBN Co's infrastructure plus Telstra's infrastructure equals Australia's National Broadband Network which will be 8 years in the roll out with the added advantage of Telstra no longer able to stack the pricing odds in its favor. Sounds too good to be true, but at face value, that's what we're about to have. So in Julia Gillard's vernacular, maybe we'll have to be thankful that Australia's luddites didn't win the last election, but then again, there's a long glass road ahead of us.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Telstra to split after almost 12 months of negotiations,
  • The NBN has brought out the best in our federal politicians,
  • Adam turns his attention to credit card fees for overseas transactions,
  • There's plenty of online security issues this week and
  • Apple release the long awaited iOS4.2 with 4.3 in the wings

  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 47/2010 - TX: November 22 2010 (Ep 307)
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This week it's Facebook's turn to make waves in the pond that is the internet. Facebook has completely rewritten their messaging product and has launch it this week, internally known as Project Titan, or unofficially and perhaps over-enthusiastically, the Gmail killer.
The all-in-one messaging service allows for the first time its 500 million members to communicate with people outside the social network, intensifying a battle with Google and Yahoo for users' Internet time.

FacebookAddressing speculation the world's largest social networking site was planning a "Gmail-killer," Facebook Chief Executive Officer Mark Zuckerberg said the new system will let users own an @facebook.com addresses, but stressed it went beyond mere email. All in all, the new mail feature, to be rolled out over coming months, lets users send and receive instant and text messages in addition to standard email and Facebook notes. Though CEO Mark Zuckerberg didn't go as far as declaring email dead, he sees the 40-year-old technology as secondary to more seamless, faster ways of communicating such as text messages and chats.

The Facebook founder said this isn't an email killer, more a messaging system that includes email as one part of it. Zuckerberg said more than 350 million of Facebook's half-billion users now actively send and receive messages on his website, and did not expect people to stop using traditional email tomorrow, but he hoped more and more will shift to an integrated, cross-platform mode of communications over the longer term, such as the service he debuted last Monday week.

Facebook and Google's intensifying rivalry is expected to play a crucial role in shaping the future of the Internet and the industry is closely watching their pitched struggle for Web surfers' time online, advertising dollars, and increasingly costly Silicon Valley talent.

According to a 2009 survey from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Text messaging has surpassed face-to-face contact, email, phone calls and instant messaging as the primary form of communication for US teens. I wonder if that applies to Australian teens as well.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Adam takes a look at Facebook's Project Titan and draws parallels to Google's now defunct Wave.
  • Leena Van Deventer talks video games for the 18+,
  • Political pressure applied to Labor in Federal parliament to produce an NBN Business Plan,
  • Microsoft say don't swap the cards in Phone 7
  • Microsoft's IE9 and Silverlight guru Michael Kordahi updates keeps us up to speed with the companies new web browser and
  • Woz says that Android is a platform for “everyone”

  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 46/2010 - TX: November 15 2010 (Ep 306)
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The transition from the not so smart phone to the smartphone is well underway, Many independent reports by market researches such as Gartner and IDC found that the smartphone market grew by almost 90 per cent in the third quarter as vendors ramped up their efforts.

According to figures from IDC, a total of 81.1 million units were shipped in the quarter, compared to the 42.8 million from the same period in 2009, a pretty impressive take up by any measure, and which will no doubt continue to see massive take up as industries around the world begin to take advantage of mobile applications targeting consumers with the new gadgets.

It's important to remember that smartphones are really personal computers which have been scaled down in size, but not in capability. Apps provide smartphone owners with maps, email, and web access.  They even empower consumers at the point of purchase to do last minute price checks online, to knock that little bit more of the price of a purchase.

For the first time, IDC has predicted over 20 per cent of all devices shipped across the world will be smartphones by the end of 2010. In 2009 the official figure was 15 per cent. The market transition to smartphones is proceeding at a brisk and unabated pace

As for vendor differentiation, Nokia was still top of the pile, although its market share was further eroded away. Apple posted its highest volume quarter of the year and therefore leapfrogged RIM into second place, even though the latter posted a record level of shipments for a single quarter. Samsung was the most improved player, reporting the highest year-over-year change of all the top smartphone vendors and overtaking HTC into fourth.

The overall global mobile market has not been performing particularly well, as a report from Strategy Analytics found the overall annual market growth fell to 13 per cent in the third quarter, down from 16 per cent in the first half and would slow to 10 per cent in the fourth quarter.

So maybe the global take up of mobile devices has peaked, and as we now focus on the upgrade of our personal communicator from phone to smartphone, all eyes will no doubt turn to the major manufacturers as they scramble to out do each other in a market place which is now saturated. It's no longer the device we shop for, but the applications, and app store offerings which support it. Also, cost is no longer a consideration either as most of today's smartphones are in a similar price bracket. So which one will you choose and why?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Adam takes a look at Apple's reality distortion field over the new macbook air,
    Leena Van Deventer walks us through the minefield that is buy games for teens theis holiday season,
  • Optus says sorry for misleading consumers, but do they really mean it?
  • McDonald's will switch on contactless credit card technology this month that enables it to charge cards from up to five centimetres away and
  • Google says not building Facebook rival.


  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 45/2010 - TX: November 8 2010 (Ep 305)
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Banks and Telco's are a hot topic for discussion these days, both around the office water cooler and in the main stream media, and unfortunately the subject of the discussion is the same – ripping off consumers. The ACCC, Australia's consumer watchdog, has been tasked with trying to keep the bastards honest, but it's certainly becoming a hard task.

Optus 'No'This past week saw Graeme Samuel's team have a deserved win over Optus, Australia's number two telco, over misleading consumers with it's super fast broadband offering. The advertisements offered large broadband quotas split into peak and off-peak quotas, accompanied by the words 'Think Bigger'.

The ACCC argued they were misleading because they did not adequately disclose that if a customer used all of their peak allowance, the service would be throttled back to 64kbps both for the peak usage and, more importantly, for the off-peak usage. The judgment stated that after the peak allowance was depleted, the consumer would not get the benefit of any of the remaining off-peak entitlement... at broadband speeds,.

Justice Nye Perram said that the plans "misrepresented the quantity" of broadband that Optus was offering to provide. He said customers were not being sold plans which gave them the nominated amount of broadband. They were given plans which had that amount as the maximum usage which could be obtained and, even then, only by careful use. He went on to say the plans in question did not have the quantity suggested for them. They were not 120GB, 150GB or 170GB plans at all.

Justice Perram also rejected arguments by Optus that the "misleading nature of the advertisement was reduced by the statements Optus makes, or seeks to have made on its behalf, at the point of sale." Optus had argued that advertisements only served to "put customers on inquiry" and that the full details of the plans were disclosed at the point-of-sale.

The ACCC had sought to have the throttle speed labelled as "sub-broadband" although Justice Perram found in favour of Optus on the issue of the impact of 64 Kbps throttle speeds, believing a reference to it in the footnote was "sufficient"

The icing on the cake for consumers was delivered late Friday when Justice Perram placed an injunction on Optus, preventing the telco from engaging in similar advertising campaigns for a period of three years. He also ordered Optus to pay all of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission's (ACCC's) court costs, an outcome welcomed by ACCC chair Graeme Samuel.

In a statement by Graeme Samuel he said that the judgment reinforces the ACCC's long held position that this approach is not acceptable
commercial practice and does not reflect what the law requires, companies cannot rely on their call centres to correct advertisements that have misled and deceived people.

Seems like this round is over – Consumers 1, Optus 0. But how many more rounds does there have to be?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • The CSIRO has invented new wireless internet technology that will give people in remote areas faster broadband by using old analog TV channels.
  • iBooks are now available on Apples Australian App store
  • Facebook admits apps shared user data
  • Google V Facebook. Data sharing hostilities commence
  • iPhone Flash converter melts down and
  • Leena looks a video games and consoles to buy this Christmas for the up to 12's!

  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 44/2010 - TX: November 1 2010 (Ep 304)
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Are you one of the millions of people around the world that has embraced online shopping or are you still concerned about giving your personal details over the internet? Shopping online has certainly matured and become very safe in recent years, but common sense must still prevail.

Most large global stores have made the move into the online world as it opens up markets which would otherwise not normally be available. Another benefit of the online shop is the lower overheads as organizations don't have to rent expensive retail space, and nor do they have to pay staff wages to keep those retail spaces open. Online stores do open up new possibilities for consumers and retailers alike, but there still remain a few obstacles that need to be overcome.

Customer service and secure payments are still the biggest resistive forces that make some consumers shy away from purchasing online. Using credit cards online is still an issue for some. There are two solutions to this if your still nervous about this, firstly, you can use a debit credit card which most banks offer these days and only put as much as you need on the card before you shop, and secondly, use a money bureau such as PayPal to pay for goods and services online. Once you give your credit card or bank details to PayPal, you'll never need to enter card numbers online again unless the store your buying from does not accept PayPal, which is becoming less and less of a problem.

Having overcome your payment fears, it's time to start reaping the benefits of shopping online. Most retailers pride themselves in the speedy delivery of purchases. Delivery methods are what set good stores apart from not so good stores. Most local stores deliver next day via the postal service or a courier company. If there is a small additional cost for delivery, it's certainly worth it when you offset it against time, petrol, and parking fees you'd normally pay if you had to shop personally, not to forget the hassle of Christmas crowds.

Online shopping also lets you compare prices easily between shops. 3rd party sites such as Shopbot do not actually sell stuff, but instead the robots scour the web looking for the best prices amongst online retailers and then present a list of cheapest to dearest. It's a great way to find out the real value of goods as well as offering up vendors which you may not have thought of.

In the store world, consumers have the opportunity to haggle with shop staff in an effort to get the best price. In fact most retailers expect this so they mark items with Recommended Retail Prices and wait for the consumer to haggle. In this world, to compare prices, you have to make your way to another store, which is costly from a fuel and parking point of view and as well, it takes time. In the online shop, this doesn't happen as the competitors store is only a click away and retailers know this, so in most cases, the best price is already online.

Rivers WebsiteThere's nothing like a real world example to demonstrate the savings that can be made shopping online. Take Rivers for example. Rivers is an Australian clothing company, which as stores Australia wide as well as an online store which sells to the world. Having selected a pair of shoes to buy, a retail store in Melbourne had the price tag of $89. The same pair of shoes online was $49 - a saving of just under $50. So with that newly found $50, I purchased some additional clothing with similar discounts. As my order was over $100 there was no delivery fee. A successful shop online experience which took me 15 minutes from the comfort of the dining room table, as opposed to the hour and 15 minute waste of time should I chose to drive to a shop in the pouring rain.

On the other hand, I recently bought a piece of equipment from Sony which was listed in the Sony Australia online store for $899. On the weekend I chose to make the purchase, another retailer – JB Hifi, which also sold the same piece of gear from Sony, had a 20% off weekend, so I headed to that store to haggle, because that's what they do. At my local shopping centre JB Hifi and Sony a physically next door to each other, and I ended up getting a better price from the Sony store than JB – my $899 RRP device magically became $710 – the result of real world haggling which could not be achieved online.

So in the world of consumerism, shopping online does not replace the local shopping centre, the real world and the virtual world are not mutually exclusive, in fact it proves that shopping online is an alternative which is really just another string in the consumers bow and only reinforces that fact that shopping around is still the best way to get the best price.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Adam Turner parts with advice to help you set up your very own blog
  • Apple plan on suing Motorola over touch screen technology
  • Adobe finds exploited flaw in Flash Player
  • Mount Everest gains its own mobile phone base station
  • Turkey lifts its ban on YouTube and
  • The Attorney-General's Department has fingered the shift from landline telephones to IP telephony as the trigger for its secretive data retention proposal.

  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 43/2010 - TX: October 25 2010 (Ep 303)
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Online privacy is becoming quite a hot topic, with the rise and rise of social networking as well as the proliferation on new smart mobile phones. Smart phones aside, there is still plenty that needs to be said about protecting your identity online, as well as keeping your personal details close to your chest.

There are many organizations that keep tabs on what you do on line. Google and Facebook are just two. The problem is, it's the sites that don't tell you what they're up to, or bury their privacy policies in the masses of fine print, that raise the most cause for concern. If you're a Google user and have a Google account, your web search history is stored in your Google account. Sure you have to be logged in to iGoogle or Gmail for it to be active, but the point is, this information is collected by default. In some countries such as the US, default opt in is allowed, unlike Australia, where it is forbidden. Here, we're lucky that regulators made it this way, but our laws don't apple outside Australia, so you must keep that in mind. To check just what data Google is storing about your online activity, log in to your account and click the "View data stored with this account" link under personal settings.

Facebook is another cause for concern, and probably more so than Google. Recently the social network giant has come under increasing attack about privacy. In an effort to way lay concerns, Facebook has made an effort to simplify its privacy settings, but even then, the default options are still less than desirable.

The Social NetworkFacebook is notified whenever you visit one of the more than one million sites on the web that use Facebook Connect and has a history of leaking personally identifiable information to third parties. Facebook Connect is a type of data portability technology that enables users of the social networking site to connect their Facebook account with any partner Web site. Using Facebook Connect, members will be able to use their Facebook identity across the Web, including profile photos, name, friends, groups, events, and more. It's the "more" part that sounds scary and should say "date of birth" and "address". Not wanting to sound alarmist, if you have a nice shiny new Smartphone, the contacts database can become dynamic.

Simply by linking a friends contact to their face book account with the touch of an icon, your Smartphone will automatically pull in all the personal information it can from Facebook, including birthdays, street addresses, in fact, almost everything it can find! It's this level of prying that no-one makes you aware of that is the most frightening.

If a crook wants to steal your identity and he or she can find out your full name, address and date of birth online, then keep an eye on you habits on your Facebook wall, well, it makes it pretty easy. Now chances are, I'm preaching to the converted, but there are millions out there, young and old alike, that need to be made aware of protecting their identity on the online world. We don't leave our drivers license out on display for the world to see when we're in a café, so why do the same online?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • All eyes on Cupertino last week as Apple goes back to the Mac
  • Adam Turner travels north for a first-hand look at Nokia's new N8 offering
  • US Television broadcasters block Google TV.
  • Kaspersky website falls victim to malware attack
  • The Social Network hit cinemas nationally this Thursday (pictured above)
  • Leena tells us about must have PS3 Games
  • New versions of Chrome and Firefox launched, and
  • Telstra shakes up the prepaid wireless broadband market again.

  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 42/2010 - TX: October 18 2010 (Ep 302)
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The mobile phone market in Australia is evolving at a rapid rate. Telstra, who has the best coverage and the fastest network, has become quite aggressive in the market place with some offerings giving the discount brands a run for their money, if not beating them at their own game. Caps have been traditionally the choice of Australian consumers, but here too, it seems the tide is turning with Telstra offering pre paid mobile caps.

Recently, the ACCC and the phone companies have worked out an agreement which offers consumers peace of mind over their purchase for the length of their phone contract. It's a good step forward considering contract users were left high and dry if their phone became faulty in the last 12 months of a contract.

If your contract is due for renewal, then it's time to shop around to find the deal that best suits you. Grab a few bills and a cup of coffee and have a look at your calling habit. Are you a person with a voice, or do you like to text? Maybe you're a data junkie, but whatever your vice, the time's are a changing from a plan point of view.

If you like to talk, most companies offer a level of free talk time, either to selected users, or with their networks. These are great, but check your bill to see if you're using this offering as you may think you are. If you like to let your fingers do the communicating, look for a good SMS plan. Some companies do and some don't include SMS in caps. Some even offer unlimited plans, but beware, everything has limits so be sure to read the fine print. Then there's data.

If you have a need to be online or you're considering a smart phone or iPad, then data needs to be a careful consideration, as traditionally, this is the telco cash cow. If you're a city slicker, then you have more choice than your country counterparts. From experience Huchison 3 and Optus provide slow mobile broadband. These guys are known to over sell capacity, leaving a lot of users to share a finite resource. Vodafone and Telstra tend to have faster mobile broadband with Telstra having by far the fastest and best rural coverage. Beware though, as faster broadband access can use up data allocations quicker.

If your contract is nearly up, consider the purchase of your new smartphone as an outright purchase. This lets you take advantage of new offerings in a very competitive market place, and chop and change providers if you need to. On the other hand re contracting, with a new handset will give you an extended handset warranty, but limit your ability to switch plans, carriers and devices. Everyone's needs are different, so look at your current usage habit to make the best choice for you.

Finally, don't discount a pre paid service. You can still automate a refill, but with a raft of new prepaid caps coming on to the market, you can recharge as required, meaning in quite months, you don't need to pay as much, and for those heavy months, a bit more headroom can be a savior to your back pocket.

It's not in a phone company's or ISP's interest to tell you about better offers. It's just not in their blood. It's up to you, the consumer, to shop around with an open mind and compare products and telcos. If you do nothing or put it in the too hard basket, you may live to regret it. Market forces and technological change have never given the edge to the consumer like it currently does. 2 years is an incredibly long time in technology, so why not be a savvy consumer, and let the good times roll. You've got nothing to lose.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Adam Turner asks, does Microsoft have what it takes to win us over to their new Phone 7smartphones
  • Telstra to unlock its iPhones for free and No more big roaming charges when overseas.
  • Optus to go unlimited mobile browsing
  • Microsoft turns on reputation check for IE9 and
  • If you're and Android user, you may get an Ice Cream soon. Maybe.
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Episode 41/2010 - TX: October 11 2010 (Ep 301)
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Everyone is pretty blasé these days when it comes to on line music stores. Everyone has heard of them and nearly everyone has bought from them. But to get the edge on their competitors, online music stores have had to evolve, and evolve they have. Your average online store serves up a range of music, movies, applications for your smart phone, music videos and podcasts. So where to from here? Well it seems that the next frontier is subscription music, where punters will be able to by the rights to listen to music online for a pre determined period of time.

The New Post reported this week that Apple is talking with the major record labels about a subscription music service that would give customers unlimited access to songs for a monthly fee. According to the report Apple iTunes boss Eddy Cue was on the phone with music honchos as recently as a few weeks ago trying to figure out how the partners can move forward.

One source said the service could have tiered pricing ranging from $10 to $15, although there are issues to be ironed out, including how much music would be included in each tier and how long consumers would be able to access that content. One top music exec said the labels are supportive of the idea and believe it could re-energize digital music sales. While album downloads have been on the rise, single track sales were flat in the first half of 2010 compared to the previous year.


Speculation that Apple would introduce a subscription service has been kicking around for years but the news that music service Spotify will be part of Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 release on Oct. 11 revived industry chatter. Spotify is a European music service that has yet to launch in the US. The company's stumbling block has been its free ad-supported streaming music business model as the record labels prefer a paid subscription model.

There are several free music streaming sites which are currently available to Australians. Grooveshark and Jango to name just two, but it hasn't always been an easy ride for these sites. Several years ago, Pandora pioneered free online streaming sites, but was swiftly blocked to countries outside the US. So with radio stations around the world embracing streaming, and online programmable streaming websites, does a music subscription option via our favourite online store stand a chance or has the horse already bolted?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Adam Turner puts skype's new android version to the test
  • Leena shares her concerns about the lack of an 'R' rating for video games in Australia
  • Gartner says get ready for the long slide into the "trough of disillusionment".
  • Microsoft plans biggest Patch Tuesday ever and
  • A two year phone contact means a 2 year phone warranty. Apple Excluded.
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Episode 40/2010 - TX: October 4 2010 (Ep 300)
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We've come a long way since our humble little radio show first started on Melbourne Radio way back in December 2004. It was in a time before we had the technology, gadgets and services we now take for granted today – a time where there was no smart phones, no NBN, no ADSL 2 (well for some of us) no iPads or iPhones, no 3G, and no HSDPA. In fact, we had a liberal Government, Helen Coonan was the then minister for communications, and podcasting was just a baby, and it was only the boffins that knew what an RSS feed was. How times have changed in just 6 short years.

Looking back, the biggest changes have been in the world of communications, and I don't just mean the speed at which we communicate. Social networking through sites like Twitter and Facebook, and a raft of wanna be start ups, have really changed our lives forever. For those who have embraced the new frontier, life consists of sharing nearly every moment of your waking day updating your Facebook wall or sharing your every move with the world in less than 126 characters on Twitter. We carry smart phones, as opposed to the dumb phones we used to use, which connect us seamlessly to our online world and rely on phone companies and ISPs to provide the conduit to our social lives and social life.

Who would have thought 6 years ago when Tech Talk Started that today, we'd be carrying in expensive personal communications devices that share our thoughts, and inner secrets not to forget our location on the planet, every phone contact and address that's important to us, with our personal computers at both home and the office. Back then, a cloud was a white fluffy water filled anomaly that floated many miles above the surface of the planet. Today it's a repository of our lives, and what's more, it's free to use.

Not only have our lives been irrevocably altered in our personal space, but we've seen great changes in the way we are entertained. Today we take for granted High Definition, 3 Dimensional entertainment. Our living rooms now have 3D tvs, our home entertainment system is now a very considered purchase, like our cars, the TV antenna has become obsolete only to be replaced with Ethernet. Even our CD and DVD players are being replaced with file servers, something boffins a decade or so ago would dream of. Science fiction is really becoming science fact, and none more so than on Tech Talk Radio's watch.

Tech Talk Radio would be nothing if it wasn't for the tireless effort of those who currently put the show together each week. Tech is a passion for all of us, and we all have the tech gene in our blood, which is what drives us to do what we do, despite the constant pressures of family life and day jobs. To compliment the Tech Talk family on the ground here in Australia, there several contributors who now no longer call our big brown land home. Lidija Davis, an expat now living in California, has to be credited with bringing some of the biggest movers and shakers to the tech Talk Microphone from that global tech homeland of Silicon Valley. Also, Mark Diggins, a long time regular on the panel, quit his job as a CDMA optimizer with Telstra and also moved to the US where he's now involved in rolling out 4G and LTE technology. America should be grateful that our best end up living and working in the land of opportunity.

As we plunge head first into the fog that is the technological revolution, Australia, like the rest of the world, has many issues which it needs to address. There's renewable energy, climate change, carbon trading, electric cars, space exploration as well as schools and education, just to name a few. How the makers of tomorrow's technology and the governments of our developed countries channel resources into these issues is yet to be seen, but one thing's for sure, Tech Talk Radio will continue to demystify the high tech world around us, and endeavor to bring it to a level everyone can understand – well for a little while longer anyway.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

Tech Talk Radio 300th show cake

  • SMS with your current GPS info thanks to an RMIT application
  • Microsoft sues Motorola over Android phones
  • Google opens Android Market to Australian developers
  • Lidija Davis shares her thouhts on Facebook
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Episode 39/2010 - TX: September 27 2010 (Ep 299)
Pod

In what can only be described as inevitable, Blockbuster Video in the US has gone broke. As widely reported last week, the company filed a voluntary Chapter 11 petition in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in New York, listing assets of $1.02 billion and debt of $1.46 billion. The company's largest trade creditor is Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment with a $21.6 million claim.

Blockbuster VideoBut in what could be good news for the Australian Blockbuster's,  non-U.S. operations were not included in the filings and are not parties to the bankruptcy proceeding.
Blockbuster says all its U.S. operations, including its stores, DVD vending kiosks, by-mail and digital businesses, are open and serving customers in the normal course and that the company is fulfilling all orders as usual, including continuing to provide access to new releases the first day they become available, and for the time being, all 3,000 of the company's stores in the United States will remain open.

In Australia, nearly all of the Blockbuster stores are franchises owned by small family businesses where the biggest threat is the change in technology allowing the delivery of rental material over the internet as well as the threat of illegal downloads such as through peer to peer networks.

One of the challenges that video library's saw back in the early 2000s was the advent of the DVD and retail DVD, where you could go to your local Kmart, Target and you could buy the DVD. You could rent a movie from your local video library, but they refused to sell those movies, and in the last 10 years, the sales market has gone from some $250 million to $1.5 billion with the franchisee missing out on the sales action. The biggest challenge facing video stores now is the download model. Legal or otherwise.

Our society is broken up into many demographics, and video rentals fits into some groups lifestyles where it doesn't in others. In these changing times where players like Sony allow rentals via a Playstation over the internet, the role of the video library must adapt to meet the changing needs of viewers. If nothing else, traditional broadcasters are on the side of the video library encouraging movie goers to watch commercial free movies because of the treatment they tend to give movies in the quest of fitting a few more ad breaks in, and on the other side of the coin, the price of DVDs in the Supermarkets are near the price of rental.

Australians love to own their own copy of a movie. How they get that copy is their choice and there are many ways to acquire it. The question is, will traditional video libraries be able to maintain a viable business without going the way of Blockbuster in the US.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • David Glover (below left) from Microsoft is live in the Tech Talk studio to tell us what's in store for Phone 7

Dave Glover talks Phone 7 on Tech Talk Radio

  • Was Peer to Peer responsible for the demise of Blockbuster video in the states
  • Adam Turner catches up with Akamai, the people behind some of the world's biggest online services and
  • Microsoft licenses free anti-virus for SMBs from next month
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Episode 38/2010 - TX: September 20 2010 (Ep 298)
Pod

Last Thursday, Microsoft launched a beta version of its latest incarnation of web browser Internet Explorer 9. Amongst all the pomp and pageantry reserved for such an occasion, what was presented at the Melbourne launch of the software by Microsoft developer evangelist Michael Kordahi, was quite impressive.
Internet Explorer 9

Our briefing was just 5 hours after the product was revealed in San Francisco, over breakfast at a Melbourne Hotel. Aside from the already announced support for HTML5 and hardware acceleration, Microsoft unveiled a clean new user interface, clever Windows 7 interface, and new security tools.

The user interface was stripped down to leave sites front and central in the browser. This new sparse GUI maximizes space for the website. Sure you can turn on the old features you may be used to, but this new browser is quite easy to get the hang of despite only a few days of use.

The browser was intergrated with Windows 7, to take advantage of the tools in the operating system. One new feature is jump menus, which is a list of web developer chosen shortcuts you can pin to the task bar in Windows 7. Simply drag the site icon from the address bar  and pin it to the task bar, then with a simple right click on the icon on the task bar, you can navigate to pages without even opening the browser. You can find an example of this in action with the Tech Talk Radio website, and you can even launch the live stream to listen to the show without even opening the browser. Users can  go directly to tasks via the site - such as sending an email, accepting a friend invite, or going directly to a news story - without working their way through the site's interface first.

IE9 also supports hardware acceleration, with its Chakra engine leveraging multicore CPUs. Microsoft claimed to be the first to use full HTML 5 hardware acceleration, using the GPU for graphics processing - a goal Chrome and Firefox were both working on, and something which is very impressive to see.

The company also claimed to have sorted out the 'back' button, so users navigating within a site's own inbuilt tabs would also be able to use the browser controls without confusing matters.

If you're keen to try the new browser, in the few days I've been playing with it, it seems quite stable, although with any beta, you'll be sure to find a few bugs and maybe even the odd crash. Microsoft has built a comprehensive test site where you can compare browsers side by side on your own PC. Visit http://ie.microsoft.com/testdrive/ where you can download the beta and the run it through it's paces.

IE 9 is not for everyone. If you're running Windows XP, the recommendation is to stick with IE8 as this version of the browser is paired with Windows 7. And if you're a Mac user, then stick to Safari. Microsoft are looking after their own customers with IE9 with the aim of the new browser being to embellish the online world of Windows 7 users only.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Dr Ron and I report on the IE9 briefing in Melbourne last Thursday
  • Adam Turner has a hands on with Microsoft's new mobile offering Phone 7
  • Apple Finally Lets A Google Voice Application Into The App Store (Again) and
  • NBN Co reveals IT rollout progress
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Episode 37/2010 - TX: September 13 2010 (Ep 297)
Pod

It's been a long time between drinks since Microsoft has had anything to hang it's hat on. The last memorable moment was the launch 12 months ago of Windows 7. And it's been a great success compared to its predecessor Vista. But in that last 12 months, almost all of the major manufacturers and software developers have be releasing new stuff, but good old Microsoft has been a little quiet of late – but maybe that's all about to change.

Phone 7 FuneralAs Jeff Alexander from Microsoft Australia preempted on last week's Tech Talk Radio, the next generation of controller less games consoles is about to hit the market just in time for Christmas. Microsoft's natal has been reborn as Kinect, and promises a whole new era of gaming in the living room, the likes of which we have never seen before. The Xbox has been widely regarded as the best gaming console on the market, so Kinect has big shoes to fill.

Apple has certainly highlighted the fact that phones are the way to the consumer's wallet, so too has Google's android operating system which can be found on most HTC devices – so now it's Microsoft's turn with the up-coming launch of Phone 7. In a bizarre move last week Microsoft chose to celebrate Windows Phone 7 RTM with funeral parade for BlackBerry and iPhone, with an absence of android. Strange but true, complete with a Thriller dance too.

And the final trick up Microsoft's sleeve is the pending release of the companies new web browser, Internet Explorer 9. IE 9 promises HTML5 support, something which has been controversial in recent times, what with Steve Job's out right refusal to allow flash to be used in his iGadgets. Silverlight will remain a plug in, and is also the applications platform for Windows Phone 7. So the beta of IE 9 will be put on show for those interested this Thursday at a Microsoft breakfast gathering, and of course Tech Talk Radio will be there.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Conroy wins bigger communications role in Gillard's front bench shake up
  • Australian iPhone and iPad developers welcomed changes Apple made overnight to its App Store approvals process.
  • Microsoft sorry for US cloud coverage
  • Adam Turner has a look at ACTA or The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement and what it means to AFACT and iiNet and
  • Optus are getting into traffic monitoring!
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Episode 36/2010 - TX: September 6 2010 (Ep 297)
Pod

Whoever said a week was a long time in politics had no idea the same philosophy applies to technology. Since the last Tech Talk Radio aired, Apple have revamped some of the flagship products including a new line of iPods, Apple TV, and a launched a new music-oriented social network called Ping.

In the same week Samsung released what it believes will be an iPad killer with their new Galaxy Tablet. Something that for all intent and purpose looks, and feels like an iPad and even uses the same peripherals as an iPad – something which will no doubt have the Cupertino legal fraternity enrolling their neighbors kids at elite colleges in California. Apple also touted two upcoming revisions to its iOS mobile operating system.
iPod Touch

These updates offer a fairly detailed picture of Apple's short-term mobile strategy: Extend its strength in features such as multitasking and multi touch, to devices beyond the iPhone. Apple TV and Ping also hint at Apple's interests in both cloud-based services and social connectivity. Also, these advances place Apple in fiercer competition against Google, which is developing Google TV; Microsoft, which plans on launching its own consumer-oriented mobile platform, Windows Phone 7; and Facebook, which might take issue with Apple starting a social network, music-centric or not.

Ping, Apples latest offering in iTunes, is a social network for music. Using terms and processes which Twitter users will be more than familiar with, Apple's Ping lets you follow your favorite musos or band. Yes, that's right, you can now follow Lady Ga Ga and keep up to date with her every move. Just what listeners of Tech Talk Radio would want – right?  Ping is built into the iTunes app on iPhone and iPod touch. So you can see artist updates from anywhere.

The new iPod has many new features and has been made very much like the new iPhone 4. These new features will allow gaming like never before, video calls, improved speed and power, and a breathtaking display. The Touch has finally adapted the HD display that has been on the iPhone. It has multiplied the number of pixels on the screen by 4 as compared to the last generation of iPod Touches which is now more than the eye can even see!

Facetime is an application for the Touch and iPhone that makes video calls possible on both iGadgets. This is probably the most awaited feature on the new iPod Touch as it allows you to make video calls over wifi. It also has two cameras. One in the front, so you can talk face to face with someone, and one in the back, so they can see exactly what you are looking at.
The new iPod touch now supports High Definition video recording! Well 720p anyway. It also lets you can edit them too. The iPod comes with basic editing software and you can buy the iMovie app for only $4.99 in the Apple App Store. You can also take point and shoot pictures with your new iPod Touch.           

So it seems the new iGadgets are coming of age, with new gaming features, a faster processor, and even folders to stick your stuff in, all Apple has to do now is think outside the square.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • There's a new range of iGadgets, iPad clones and mobile devices set to tantalize you this Christmas but Jeff Alexander
    Adam Turner warns of one you may just want to think twice about.

  • Jeff Alexander (right) from Microsoft Australia joins the panel to talk about Windows 7, Home Server, and Microsoft's new gaming console Kinect which ill be out this summer holidays also

  • Samsung launch the Galaxy Tablet!

You can follow Jeff Alexander on twitter or read his blog http://blogs.technet.com/b/jeffa36/

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Episode 35/2010 - TX: August 30 2010 (Ep 295)
Pod

Competition in the market place is a truly wonderful thing. Thanks to the new determination of Telstra, chances are right now, you're enjoying considerably more broadband bandwidth at a price that is less than what you previously paid. Most of the top ISPs have re jigged their offerings to compete with the incumbent and on the downside, it could potentially put the smaller ISPs out of business. I guess that's the dog eat dog reality of the commercial world we now live in.

GoogleNow it's Google's turn to get in on the act as Australian Gmail users may have noticed in the past few weeks. Google now allows Gmail users the ability to download a small application, and start making phone calls to the local Australian market for just 2 cents a call and 14 cents per minute to mobiles – that's USD. More Details.

Australians who have their Gmail language set to "English US" are able to use the Google Voice plug-in for Gmail to make calls using the microphone on their computer, a service which will no doubt put pressure on existing VOIP providers such as Skype. Your account starts with a 10 cent credit which can be topped up as needed, a clever enticement to go out and try it, just as I did during the week.

The call quality was surprisingly good. In fact, it was better in my opinion that traditional PSTN calls.

Calls and texts to US and Canadian numbers are free with very low rates for calls to phones in other countries. Google announced that over one million calls were placed using Gmail's free calling service in its first 24 hours.

It should be noted that only outgoing calls would work for Australian as incoming calls required the Google Voice application, which has not yet been made available to Australians. In the US, people who obtain a free phone number from Google can receive calls on their PC.
As for a mobile version, not yet. Outgoing calls can only be made via Gmail on users' computer. The service is likely to be a real threat to services like Skype, more so than to traditional phone companies.

With a few free credits it's worth a try. All you have to do is download the app, open Gmail, click on the "call phone" option in their chat buddy list in Gmail and type in the number or enter a contact's name.

With Google's wave now dead in the water, maybe the search giant has turned its attention to the traditional marketplace. If nothing else it will certainly re kindle interest in Gmail, and give them an even bigger edge over their competitors Microsoft, Yahoo, and now Skype! If this sort of benefit to consumers is a result of competition – bring it on I say.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Google gives Skype a poke with a red hot poker,
  • Adam Turner looks at the pros and cons of catch up tv in Australia
  • the ANZ Bank release an iPhone app,
  • Excom goes belly up,
  • Garmin recalls GPS units which catch fire, and
  • Windsor tells Gillard to reveal the true cost of the NBN!
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Episode 34/2010 - TX: August 23 2010 (Ep 294)
Pod

There's an old saying “If it ‘aint broke, don't fix it” which as most techie types know, is very true for anything to do with computers and something that I was reminded of last week as I upgraded my iiNet plan to take advantage of the new competition in the broadband market.

With Telstra's aggressive retail push in the broadband market two weeks ago, ISPs big and small have been re jigging their ADSL offerings to try and match the incumbents. iiNet, TPG, and AAPT are just a few. Anyway, being an iiNet customer, on the 20th of August, the day the new plans became available, I upgraded my business plan to take advantage of 4 times the extra bandwidth allowance for the same price.

Logging on to iiNet's webpage and upgrading was the easiest part of the day's work, it's what happened in the hours after that, that became increasingly trying.  The new allowances were applied instantly which I thought was impressive, but all connectivity ceased about half an hour after the upgrade. After going through the “is it me or is it them” fault finding, I came to the conclusion it was an iiNet problem and jumped on the phone to business support.

iiNet's support has always been pretty good, as I managed to speak to a Western Australian within a few moments after wrestling with their IVR and being bombarded with propaganda. “We've been inundated with plan changes” came the reply from the first line of tech support defense. I was told there were some problems with authentication with the new plans, and it would be long. 4 hours later, we were back online. Just a tad too long for a business to be off line.

The problems didn't end there. The IP address had become dynamic, not static. This causes all sorts of problems for clients trying to connect to the server, so at 6PM on Friday (Western Australian Time) I jumped on the phone to support once again, and to my disappointment and frustration, iiNet could or would only support residential customers after hours. How infuriating. Businesses don't stop after hours, in fact that's the time when most systems work the hardest, doing off site backups and likes.
According to whirlpool, an independent website which helps consumers choose an Internet Service Provider, the top five companies of choice are Internode, iiNet, TPG, Telstra Bigpond, and Optusnet.

Business pays a premium for their services over residential customers, supposedly for a better support deal. It makes you wonder though if all ISPs treat business support the same? The lack of support from iiNet certainly came as a surprise when wouldn't you thing the technology is all the same?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Australia has its first hung parliament since world war 2
  • Adam Turner informs us that 7HD is going the way of ABC and TEN HD
  • Have you ever ordered take away and had it delivered without using the phone?
    We'll tell you how with a new Melbourne based web site takeout.com.au
  • iiNet falls over with a surge of plan changes and
  • Optus seeks a court ruling on the meaning of unlimited.
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Episode 33/2010 - TX: August 16 2010 (Ep 293)
Pod

Last week, the long awaited Coalition ITC policy was released to less than rapturous acclaim. In a package of minimal spending and conservative politics, the coalition have only allocated $6.3bn over 7 years towards the most important infrastructure upgrade in Australian history. This time a century ago, the copper network was all the go, allowing people to talk on a new device called the telephone. In fact, In 1880, the first telephone exchanges opened in Australia.

It's hard for us today, more than a century later, to appreciate the impact that the new invention of the telephone had on our young country.

Tony AbbotIn what can only be described as a major disappointment, The Coalition's long-awaited broadband policy will use government funding to leverage a privately run high-speed network to deliver  12-100 Mbps to 97% of households, using a combination of existing HFC cable, DSL and fixed wireless.

As anyone involved in the communications industry will tell you, wireless is by no way a substitution for cable, albeit copper or glass, there is just no way wireless can come anywhere near the speed of fibre optic. It's only advantage is its cost effectiveness in delivering services to locations and households in remote locations. Chances are though, it's these remote households that will benefit the most with high speed broadband for education, business and entertainment reasons. It call be said that the Nationals are letting down their core supporter base – the people who they are supposed to represent.

Meanwhile Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Communications Minister Stephen Conroy were in Hobart last Thursday to officially launch the first part of the national fibre-optic broadband network – otherwise known as the NBN. In what was a shock announcement to Tony Abbott and which in turn brought about a barrage of scorn and ridicule towards the Labor party, Senator Conroy announced that fibre-optic speeds will hit 1 gigabit per second, 10 times faster than first thought. This is NOT SURPRISING to those in the business. In fact, these speeds are still rather slow for fibre-optics, but that's not taking into account a high data flow and lots of concurrent connections.

Conroy said the announcement by NBN Co to increase capacity on the network shows that fibre technology is truly about future-proofing the nation, but one has to ask if this is a conspiracy on behalf of NBN Co protecting its future.

NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley denied this revelation of National Broadband Network speeds up to 1Gbps had anything to do with supporting Labor's election chances, in the face of a Coalition policy that would see his fledgling broadband company shut down. The announcement came just 10 days before election day but Senator Conroy said he was only told of the increased speeds the previous night.

Finally both ITC policies are on the table for all to consider before we chose a government on August 21, and it's certainly not hard to see which party is looking to future proof Australia, and which party is looking at the short term.

Australia has slipped in internet speed ranking in the past few years, but with the NBN now being built, high speed broadband is now a real possibility for the long term, and will enable us to move back up to where we need to be in the global community.
So for those who need to hear what the NBN is in plain speak, put simply, it's the equivalent of the industrial revolution from a communications point of view. High speed broadband will affect the prosperity of nearly every Australian and determine the success of every other policy rolled out by all political parties at this election.  Not unlike what copper did over one hundred years ago, and we know how that transformed lives back then.

Copper was the technological plumbing of the 20th century and Fibre optics is the equivalent for the 21st century.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • We take a detailed look at both the major party's offerings in high speed broadband
  • Adam Turner gives the iPhone 4 the death grip using Australian Telcos
  • Victoria to clamp down on improper video surveillance
  • Telstra warns ISPs to expect "aggressive" competition and
  • Disputed bills saddle Telstra with $90m debt
  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 32/2010 - TX: August 9 2010 (Ep 292)
Pod

Everybody knows about social networking. The young, the old, the luddites, and the boffins, even businesses large and small have found their way to social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook. But in these days of the technological revolution, where each day brings new and exciting things to our desktop, laptop, Netbook and iGadgets, it's clear that some businesses are embracing social networking for the wrong reasons.

Twitter

In a survey by US PR and marketing agency Wildfire, which analysed the social media activity of the 2009 Deloitte Fast Tech 50, found that 90% of the UK tech companies featured had a presence on two or more social networks but the majority fail to actually use social media in a social way. Instead, far too many brands are treating the likes of Twitter and Facebook as a traditional marketing channel.

While many companies in Australia now have Twitter and Facebook accounts such as Telcos, Media Agencies, Government Departments, and even religious groups, the question needs to be asked, what are they actually doing with their accounts? Social networking by definition, requires users to be sociable, that is, interacting with other network users, where some organizations do and don't.

In the UK, 74% of companies operated an official Twitter account, 43% of brands had never replied to a single tweet. Overall, the study found that 57% used Twitter solely for one-way marketing activity and the use of Facebook didn't fair any better either. The survey found that 20% of those on the Deloitte Fast Tech 50 list had a presence on the social networking site, a paltry 25% of brands reply to followers' comments on their Facebook accounts, while 60% of companies with a Facebook page used it purely as a distribution channel.

For some, the experience of poor social media execution by companies on Twitter goes along the lines of something like this: A tweet is sent to a company or organization requesting help or maybe a complaint. If you're lucky you may get a reply offering help but most likely encouraging you to contact the company concerned via traditional methods. Further tweets tend to fall on deaf ears. On exception to this in recent times has been Telstra of all companies, but their foray into the twittervers was less than credible, as those who chose to communicate with the telco via twitter had bot like responses within a short moment. Tech Talk Radio's Lidija Davis was quick to point this out to the telco which in turn made the Telco more sociable.

As some social network critics have said: "The bottom line is that for all of the social media marketing hype, the reality is a little skewed. Music no doubt to the ears of opportunistic social media marketers everywhere who would be keen to help." Companies, tech or otherwise, would do well to remember that in the age of social media, customer service IS PR.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • The Federal Election inches closer and closer, we take a look at how the major parties view Conroy's internet filter.
  • Adam takes a look at the demise of Google's Wave which has become a dumper,
  • Melbourne gets a WIFI Tram
  • Android's growth is beyond expectations, and
  • Victoria to trial electric cars
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Episode 31/2010 - TX: August 2 2010 (Ep 291)
Pod

Without any remorse last week, Telstra was found to be in breach of the Trade Practices act when it prevented its competitor's access to several telephone exchanges in most Australian states. This action prevented several ISPs from installing and connecting ADSL2 DSLAMS.

The Telco had claimed the main distribution frames in the exchanges were "capped" when there was still capacity available. This occurred, according to ACCC Chairman Graeme Samuel, at a time of critical broadband growth. He also said

Graeme Samuel ACCC"Telstra had both the incentive, and the ability, to prevent access seekers from deploying their own equipment"

The fine meted out by Justice Middleton was less than the $40 million penalty sought by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission. Telstra was fined $26.5 million in total but Justice Middleton gave the carrier a 30 percent discount for its "cooperation, acceptance of responsibility and for implementing a compliance program." but he also found that Telstra had shown "no true remorse, nor an appreciation of the seriousness of the admitted contravention."

It's worth pointing out that the infringement occurred between 2006 and 2008, the time that the arrogant Sol Trujillo and the three amigos were at the helm of Australia's incumbent Telco. The court was particularly critical of Telstra's compliance policies, finding that "Telstra took no steps to develop a culture of compliance with its access obligations under the Trade Practices Act and the Telecommunications Act.

It's one thing to fine Telstra $18.55m, but as a percentage of revenue, it's nothing. Is this the reason why Telstra just brushed it off? Maybe the ACCC needs to aim higher and make penalties more relevant to the size and income earning capacity of companies .Telstra could make this back with customers exceeding their broadband cap in just one day
All this in the week that Telstra cut the 200Gb broadband plan to below wholesale. Competition amongst ISPs and carriers is necessary if market forces are to play a part in the pricing of goods and services. Telstra's aggressive action with its DSL price drop is surely aimed at hurting its competitors as it basically gave them the metaphorical bird.

We haven't heard the last of this in the media, blogs, forums and the courts. Is this yet another action motivated by the NBN rollout, or just the new regime stretching its post NBN agreement rollout?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Telstra's ups and downs continue with aggressive broadband offerings and an $18.55m fine
  • the election banter ramps up with NBN becoming a major issue as voters prepare to go to the polls in just 3 weeks time and
  • Adam Turner joins us to look at the latest offerings in 3D TV as well, he compares smartphones, including the iPhone 4
  Download Podcast   Download Full 2 hour show  

Episode 30/2010 - TX: July 26 2010 (Ep 290)
Pod

Just in case you've been living under a rock for the past few weeks, Australians have a Federal election fast approaching on August 21 which is just next month. There are many issues up for the discussion at the moment, from health to taxes, but probably the most important issue for all Australians to keep up with the 21st century is communication. Not only is it the back bone of business, it's also a vital component in providing health reforms, building better education for all Australians, and future proofing Australia as an economically viable place to do business.

The National Broadband Network is the election promise of the current Labor government. On offer is high speed broadband from one end of the country to the other, and the best effort yet at bridging the digital divide between the city slickers and tier country cousins. The incredibly frustrating thing is, that regardless of who we vote for on August 21, the NBN will be tarnished by either side of politics.

Labor has it in it's sights to fulfill the previous election promise of filtering the internet from nasty sites, based on a refused classification list from the OFLC. This list is now itself embroiled in controversy as Stephen Conroy has now delayed the implementation of the filter, based on concerns about the list. In the Liberal Party camp, Tony Abbott will take the axe to the $43 billion NBN as the Liberal Party plans to cuts Government spending by $10 billion in an effort to pay off the debt accumulated by Kevin Rudd's government through fiscal stimulus measures designed to keep the Australian economy out of recession during the global financial crisis.

So if communications in Australia is to remain progressive and competitive in the current world economic climate, who's going to earn your respect? Labor – who wants to build a NBN on one hand and then filter it with the next, or the Coalition who wants to kill it and is still yet to provide any form of alternative?

Well, there may be good news in the wind, as it looks like the Liberal Party's move to crush the National Broadband Network has suffered a blow with the Greens pledging to support the legislation in the Senate and block a private sell-off.

Crystal ball gazers say the Greens could hold nine of the 76 Senate seats following the next Federal election on 21 August, giving them the balance of power with some predicting the Greens could even win a senate seat from each state after the election next month. As well, for the first time in Green history, they may even win a seat in the house of reps. It's also worth mentioning Australia's two party preferred electoral system at this stage, where Labor and the Greens are doing, if they haven't done already, a preferential deal.

It's early days yet, and anything may happen, but it looks more and more like the two main parties are going to have to side with the Greens should they want to achieve political supremacy. Who would have thought Bob Brown and his party of environmental do-gooders would keep the bastards honest? Remember, you don't win elections… you lose them.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • There's hope for the NBN should the Coalition come to power August 21.
  • The Optus 2-in-1 SIM Card Makes Upgrading To iPhone 4 Easier,
  • Telstra drops price on $200Gb DSL broadband
  • Optus flaunting Do Not Call register
  • Qantas Introducing Smart Frequent Flyer Cards and
  • Adam vents over ABC's move to dedicated 24 hour news channel.
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Episode 29/2010 - TX: July 19 2010 (Ep 289)
Pod

In Australia, the states legislate how consumers and businesses must behave when it comes to refunding money for faulty goods. Here in Victoria, Consumer affairs have a detailed web page outlining consumer's rights and obligations which would no doubt reflect attitudes in other states, but nowhere does it mention what happens when consumers knowingly purchase goods and services that are flawed.

Apple zealots, put your hands over your ears now, as the rubbery release date of Apple's iPhone 4 approaches. If you're going to buy one of the glorified music player which just so happens to have a built in phone, then you're about to buy a lemon, and Apple knows it.
Despite selling 1.7 million iPhone 4 units in the first three days after its US launch, Apple has taken a beating over the past few weeks over antenna problems that cause calls to drop out when the phone is held in a certain way. In fact Apple's share price has taken a hit and many are calling for a recall after tests against similar devices confirmed that the problem was a significant "design flaw".

Stev Jobs with iPhone 4

So how could such an epic fail be associated with the Apple brand? Some suggest STEVE Jobs's insistence on strict design control appears to have led Apple to overrule internal concerns about the iPhone 4's antenna reception. The chief executive's stance also forced the company to deny carriers adequate time to test the new phone before selling it. Apple engineers were aware of the risks associated with the new antenna design as early as a year ago, but Mr Jobs liked the design so much that Apple went ahead with its development, said a person familiar with the matter.

The company called a news conference to discuss the issue but doesn't plan to recall the phone, a person familiar with the matter said, and in the day prior, Apple shares dived by 4% last night, cutting US$9.9bn off its $230bn value after speculation grew that the company would have to recall or issue hardware fixes for the new iPhone 4.

The electronics giant kept such a shroud of secrecy over the iPhone 4's development that the device didn't get the kind of real-world testing that would have exposed such problems in phones by other manufacturers, said people familiar with the matter.

In a press conference last Friday night in San Francisco, Steve Jobs said "We're not perfect" Something that the Apple chief and zealots around the world now has to come to terms with.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Apple stops dodging iPhone 4 issues but knew of iPhone 4 issues before launch.
  • Chile becomes first net neutrality nation,
  • Optus hits 50 Mbps on Sydney LTE network,
  • Cyber Safety Committee censors Family Guy,
  • Skype severs ties with Fring,
  • Microsoft extends Windows XP downgrade rights and
  • Adam but Telstra's T-gadgets through the hoops!
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Episode 28/2010 - TX: July 12 2010 (Ep 288)
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As Australians approach the next Federal election, touted for as early as next month, politicians are scurrying around the country like a plague of locusts spreading the word about their vote winning policies, and dousing the flames of those which could contribute to their demise. This week saw the controversial plans to filter the internet been shelved by the Gillard government for at least two years.

As the government clears the decks for the coming federal election and facing a strong backlash against the policy, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy yesterday ordered a year-long review into content that has been refused classification.

ConroyConroy said that the Government would recommend a review of RC guidelines to State and Territory ministers, following consultations with the Federal Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O'Connor, and a spokeswoman for Senator Conroy said the filter -- which was a 2007 Labor election promise -- would not be implemented until 12 months after the legislation was passed. The opposition said the delay was a "humiliating backdown".

Members of the parliamentary cyber-safety committee have criticised new Prime Minister Julia Gillard for standing behind her party's controversial internet filtering proposal. Representatives from Internode, Yahoo!7, the Australian Information and Industry Association (AIIA) and the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA), opposed the proposal, recommending the use of commercially available software and educational initiatives instead.

The delay comes after a fierce anti-filter campaign from activist organisation Get-Up! and criticism from internet companies such as Google, and the US government. They have warned that the filter will not be effective, could slow the internet and would set a dangerous precedent for web censorship.
Google Australia and New Zealand managing director Karim Temsamani said he was pleased the government had taken account of "genuine concerns" about refused-classification content.

The review was announced as three of Australia's largest internet service providers -- Telstra, Optus and Primus -- agreed to block a list of child abuse websites compiled by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. Senator Conroy said the government's commitment to force ISPs to filter refused-classification content from the internet had not wavered. So it appears that the incumbent federal government which seems to have a “make policy on the go" approach, has struck yet again pushing the controversial internet filter to after the next poll, hoping that Australian's have a short memory. Hopefully that isn't the case, but unfortunately unless there's a change of government, it looks like we haven't seen the end of the great firewall of Australia.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Austar, allows downloads of content to its customers over the web.
  • Adam wants a new high tech vacuum cleaner,
  • Conroy delays the filter,
  • VHA update mobile data plans,
  • NBN launch new sites, and
  • yet another newcomer to twitter - Conroy's department joins the Twitterverse.
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Episode 27/2010 - TX: July 5 2010 (Ep 287)
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When it comes to watching TV, time's are a changing, and never faster than it is right now. In recent times, we've ditched the old boxy 4x3 CRT tvs for 16x9 flat screen LCD panels promising crisp, high detail images in both 2 and 3 dimensions.

Very soon these screens will move yet again to OLED or Organic Light Emitting Diode technology – not to be confused with LED tvs currently marketed by some.
However, and more importantly is evolution of content delivery. It wasn't so long ago that the only way  we could watch movies and programs on our living room screens was via free to air broadcasters, subscription TV, and the ubiquitous DVD.

Today these traditional delivery methods are rapidly losing ground to internet or IP based systems. Internet speeds to most consumers are now seeing new players move into the content delivery market and becoming content suppliers in their own right such as Telstra, iiNet and of course Apple.

One of the benefits of IP based delivery is that consumers can now watch TV at a time that suites them. Rather than being in fromnt of the TV at the time a network dictates. So now we are beginning to experience Video on Demand, something that the rest of the world has had for some time.

Australia's government funded broadcaster, the ABC has been at the forefront of VOD technology for some time with it's iView offering. iView does not offer streaming of ABC channels, only delayed viewing of programs for a couple of weeks after programs have aired. It's probably only a matter of time before this facility is added. Other Australian networks have dabbled in this are but none to the level and success of the ABC.

ISP's such as Telstra are tinkering with content provision with products like Bigpond TV. Testra's latest offering is T-Box, an all in one device which gives access to free to air TV, Bigpond Internet TV channels and movies.

iiNet have their offering called Fetch TV, which according to their website brings you world class digital TV with movies, programs, games music, and interactive applications – all packed into a brand new set top box.

It's also worth mentioning organizations such as Sony. Sony have recently launched the Playstation store which offers a wide range of downloadable content  both for purchase and available free of charge including full online games, add-on content, playable demos, and now movies from the Sony catalogue. Movies are available in both HD and SD for both sale and rent.

So will the next generation of PVRs be lacking a TV antenna jack? And what of the future of Free to Air TV stations who treat their views with contempt? Who will be king of content in Australia in the next decade and beyond? One thing's for sure. The days of the local video library are definitely numbered.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Electronic program guides (EPGs) finally know when shows run late, but Freeview are still making it hard,
  • Consumers sue Apple over iPhone antenna problems,
  • Google rumored to be prepping a social network,
  • Portable hard drive hit the 3TB mark and
  • Whirlpool suffers Distributed Denial of Service attack (DDoS) from the other side of the world.
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Episode 26/2010 - TX: June 28 2010 (Ep 286)
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Ousted PM Rudd sits on Back BenchLast Wednesday, there was an interesting line up on ABC TV. Spics and Specs followed by The Gruen Transfer, and topped off with the demise of Australia's now ex Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd. In as little as 12 hours, the bloodless coup was over. Kevin was relegated to the back bench, and Julia had been sworn in for the top job. So what of the policies of the then Rudd government now? Will Julia rethink the untenable, and what will become of Stephen Conroy, one of the instigators, and facilitators in the demise of Kevin Rudd.

Some in the technology industry have speculated that a front-bench reshuffle could see Communications Minister Stephen Conroy replaced by Canberra Senator Kate Lundy, who served as Shadow Communications Minister from 2001 to 2007. Lundy was among the first Labor Senators to voice her support for Gillard after the leadership challenge last week.

Noting that she had been raised to the position of Prime Minister by her colleagues, and not the Australian public, Gillard said she would speak to the Governor-General about holding a general election "in the coming months".

The rise of Julia Gillard to the top job seems to have arrested the slide in popularity for the labor government for the time being, but with an election to be called later this year, it's still possible that a change of government is in the wind.

Last week Telstra signed up to the NBN Co with conditions, so it seems that it's all systems go for the National Broadband Network, something that Abbot Liberal government has said is unnecessary and will be dismantled if it comes to power later this year. But what of the controversial internet filter? Was this one of Kev's babies, or is it a party policy which will stand the test of the new regime?

We're damned if we do and damned if we don't technologically speaking. If Labor is returned, Australia will have a high speed national broadband network free of monopolies and duopolies, but with an ISP level internet filter if they can get the bill through the senate. On the other hand, if the Liberal party has success in the poll later this year, then there goes the NBN, and we're back to where we are to day? What's the price of progress then? Who will you be barracking for come October or November this year?

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Does a change in Prime Minister mean a change in technological attitudes with technological decision makers?
  • Adam Turner has inbox issues that can't easily be solved
  • The .xxx domain name comes in from the cold after several long years of deliberation by ICANN
  • Apples new iPhone 4 is a little hard of hearing, especially if you hold it the wrong way, and
  • Visa launches a homegrown online micropayment service for sub $20 online transactions!
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Episode 25/2010 - TX: June 21 2010 (Ep 285)
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How often are consumers being treated with contempt by many of the major tech goods manufacturers? Have you ever noticed that the price of a particular piece of gear seems relatively and reasonably priced, then after you part with your hard earned cash, you find yourself the victim of an extortion racket when it comes to buying accessories for your new gadget? If you've bought a mobile phone in recent times, you would certainly have come across after market accessories such as car kits and blue tooth headsets. These are traditionally copies of original or authentic accessories, sometimes of a better quality, at half the price.

Last week the 4th generation iPhone was launched by Apple to less than a euphoric welcome, probably because apple had lost a few prototypes and we'd all seen it before, but on reading the fine print, Apple have chosen to use a micro sim which is not compatible with its recently released iPad.

MicrosimAccording to Nick Wilkins, press relations manager at O2, a UK based carrier, an iPhone 4 micro-SIM inserted into an iPad will detect that it is not in a smartphone and will not work.  He said "The micro-SIMs for the iPhone are set up to allow voice calls, SMS messages and data functionality, whereas the iPad micro-SIM is provisioned to allow pay-as-you-go data transfer only"

The decision will prevent Apple users from carrying over a data allowance from their iPhone to the iPad.
O2 said that it will in time make available a SIM which can be converted back and forth between the micro and regular sizes, but what about Australian carriers?

Another downside is that it will slow down the end users ability to swap sims out and change carriers based on their location or poor service unless they have a collection of micro sims. But not allowing the iPad and iPhone to swap sims looks only to be a sweetener for the Telcos that support the devices, ensuring Apple devotees have to buy two services. It also means, those with an older iPhone and a 4G iPhone, can't swap between the two devices with the same number.

So before you all race of to the local apple store, just remember you'll need a new micro sim from the carrier of your choice before you start making calls on your new toy.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Twitter's fail whale has busiest month in two years,
  • Telstra launches T-box, and fixed line phone pricing to remain unchanged,
  • Facebook issues detailed response to privacy concerns,
  • Apple delivers a MobileMe update, and
  • we take a look at online banking – who's good and who's not so good.
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Episode 24/2010 - TX: June 14 2010 (Ep 284)
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According to The Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy, Google committed the crime of the century when it's camera cars sniffed and recorded wifi traffic of unsuspecting citizens in the moments it car passed any unprotected wifi network in Australia or around the world. According to the Attourney Generals department, Companies who provide customers with a connection to the internet may soon have to retain subscriber's private web browsing history for law enforcement to examine when requested, a move which has been widely criticised by industry insiders.

It should be noted that Telstra currently records and stores SMS traffic sent over its network for the same reason. The contents of the SMS are only stored for a short term, but like phone calls, the details of the A and B parties are recorded and stored for years. Even with cost effective data storage of today, it's still impossible to record all content, but this seems like it will change with ISPs.

In rather disturbing news this week reported on ZDnet Australia, The Attorney-General's Department said that it had been in discussions with industry on implementing a data retention regime in Australia. Such a regime would require companies providing internet access to log and retain customer's private web browsing history for a certain period of time for law enforcement to access when needed.

hands on keyyboard

Currently, companies that provide customers with a connection to the internet don't retain or log subscriber's private web browsing history unless they are given an interception warrant by law enforcement, usually approved by a judge. It is only then that companies can legally begin tapping a customer's internet connection.

They said the regime being considered by the Australian Government could see data held for much longer than EU Directive time of 24 months — it would be more like five or ten years.

Internet Industry Association (IIA) chief executive officer (CEO) Peter Coroneos also confirmed that the industry was having discussions with the Attorney-General's Department. He said there has been some preliminary discussions with the Attorney-General's Department about a proposal for a data retention regime in Australia, but thinks those discussions are at a very early stage and hadn't seen any firm proposals yet from the government.

Electronic Frontier Australia (EFA) chair Colin Jacobs said the regime was "a step too far". In February, the senate passed a Bill allowing ISPs to intercept traffic as part of "network protection activities" but the question needs to be asked how far will it go. No other free country is pushing the privacy envelope as much as the Australian government is or has. The US government has voiced it's concerns ofver Conroy's proposed internet filter, as has Google, drawing parralells to China and it's internet censorship.

All things aside, the question needs to be asked, Are you happy for the government or ISPs for that matter to have a list of all the URLs you've typed into your web browser or contents of your email? What's next? Maybe the postie gets to open you snail mail. Has Australia become so paranoid that its citizens will revolt? Maybe this is the straw that will break the camels back.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Apple releases Safari 5 for Mac and Windows
  • ACMA launches a new spam SMS reporting tool
  • Windows 7 SP1 beta scheduled for July
  • Google posts Chrome security fixes and
  • Optus mulls lawsuit over Telstra coverage maps
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Episode 23/2010 - TX: June 7 2010 (Ep 283)
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How many definitions of the word “unlimited" would you expect to find in the dictionary? Well a quick search finds that “unlimited" when used as an adjective means:

1. not limited; unrestricted; unconfined: unlimited trade.
2. boundless; infinite; vast: the unlimited skies.
3. without any qualification or exception; unconditional.

The problem is, that Australian telecommunications companies seem to think that when something is unlimited, then it has limits - something the flies in the face of every English dictionary known to mankind. The good news is that the ACCC or Australian Competitions and Consumer commission, also has a problem with telcos redefining the English language.

This week Optus and AAPT came under the watchful eye of the ACCC over their latest respective offerings in broadband and telephony. By definition, unlimited means and implies that there are no restrictions. To consumers, if you were to purchase a product or service which was unlimited, then one could safely assume that no restrictions apply and you'd be pretty dark if you hit a limit while using a product or service - right?

OptusUnlimitedCalls

Another word which telcos pushed to the level of redefining recently was “free" a word which implies no cost. Phone companies, or any advertiser for that matter, is not allowed to say a product is free unless it genuinely is. According to Free TV Australia, the governing body responsible for approving commercials on free to air television, Particular care must be exercised when describing goods and services as “free". It is considered misleading or deceptive conduct under the Trade Practices Act 1974 to falsely advertise goods or services as “free" if the cost of those goods or services is recouped from the buyer in another way.

Where goods or services are available at no cost but subject to conditions, it is insufficient for the advertiser to advise merely that conditions apply. The relevant conditions must be made clear to the viewer, for example, where a second good or service is made available free or as a gift only if a first good or service is purchased for a price, this must be stated.

Price rises elsewhere or other conditions not clearly outlined (such as offering a mobile telephone for ‘free' or $0 but placing the customer under a contractual obligation of minimum payments for a set term) will be misleading or deceptive conduct.

So if this is the case for using the word “free" in advertising, why should “unlimited" be any different? The ACCC has viewed Optus' "$70 pre-paid Turbo Max plan" as deceptive and misleading, asking the question is 3000 minutes unlimited? As a result, Optus gets to explain this new usage of the word “unlimited" to the Federal court on June 25.

Telstra also had problems in 2007, with an advertising claim that Next G was everywhere you needed it. They told in no uncertain terms by Justice Gordon that you just can't say that, and that the statement was misleading. So thanks to Australian telcos, it seems that dictionary definitions need to be ratified by the federal court. If these companies insist on re defining dictionary definitions, what other antics to they apply this poetic license to?

As consumers, beware of the telco offers that seem too good to be true, because that they are.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Google are set to hand over WiFi data
  • iiNet set to double ADSL2 speeds, but there's a hardware catch
  • Microsoft unveils game-changing Windows Phone 7
  • Open source workaround for Flash on iPhones, iPads and
  • Zuckerberg tries to defend Facebook's privacy policy

 

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Episode 22/2010 - TX: May 31 2010 (Ep 282)
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Last Thursday, Australian's finally got a taste of Apples' iPad a little over one month after its launch in the United States. Demand for the device in the US exceeded supply within a week, and to the dismay of many Apple zealots around the world, it pushed out the global launch a little more than expected. So the iPad has finally arrived, to scenes which were quite demure compared to previous Apple launches, well at least in Australia anyway.
Pad Launch
So if you haven't made it to the local Apples store, what's stopping you? Well here's some food for thought. Both Adam and I from the Tech Talk camp, had iPads since the US launch, and in that time, personally speaking, the device has found its place in the family environment. If you didn't know, the iPad comes in two flavors, a wifi only version, and a combined wifi and 3G version. The price difference between the same capacity devices is anywhere between $100 and $200, so which one is right for you?

The answer to this is determined by what you want to do with it. Our iPad hit the mark with the younger folk, especially the one that can't type or read yet. The iconic style interface opens up a world of games, books and applications that traditionally would require adult help to open.

The iPad at this stage seems robust enough to take a few good knocks and drops without sustaining any harm- so early days seems to say that are childproof. The downside of easy navigation is having the youngsters find their way to Youtube where little eyes can see things that they probably shouldn't. The good news is that it is easy to remove the icon from the desktop in effect removing temptation, so my advice to those with kids is to remove this icon before you hand it over – then they don't know what their missing.

So the iPad is now the ‘always on' information and entertainment device which resides in the kitchen and living room, but if you're going to make the purchase, which one to get – wifi and 3G or wifi only? If your iPad is going to be like ours, then it'll spend more time connected to the wifi at home. 3G is only necessary outside the household environment.

Chances are you've got a mobile phone with a data subscription or add on, and if you can turn it in to a wireless hotspot, they you don't need 3G, so there's a saving of a hundred or so bucks. If you have a jail broken iPhone, then an investment of $10 will buy you the my-wifi app and you won't look back and save plenty.
The iPad will become as ubiquitous as the iPhone, so if you think it's a flash in the pan fad – then think again.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • In case you missed it, Apple's iPad finally arrives in Australia.
  • Apple takes the lead from Microsoft in net worth stakes.
  • Google's copping it from all countries over the wifi privacy issue from snooping camera cars,
  • the sub $50 broadband market steps up a notch, and
  • Microsoft looks to IE9 to try and regain some ground in the online world as well
  • Adam heads to Bondi for the opening of Apples newest Australian store

 

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Episode 21/2010 - TX: May 24 2010 (Ep 281)
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This past week has seen some great leaps forward in something Australians' have been missing out on for some time, something the rest of the tech savvy world is now starting to take for granted – Video On Demand, or VOD as the 3 letter acronym will have it. On a very recent trip to the US, it was quiet evident that VOD is taken for granted on cable services throughout the US. For a couple of bucks, viewers can watch the latest cinema releases piped over the internet delivered straight to the TV. If you're in for a pizza and movie night in California as I was recently, you'll find the quality of image and sound much better than that of the food!

The lack of video or DVD hire shops in the states is testament to the success of Video on Demand. The only place you'll find DVD and Bluray media is in the retail outlets where movies sell for sub $15 US. This is a taste of things to come in Australia, and, if you ran a Video Ezy or Blockbuster here, I'd be looking to diversify.

While browsing through the aisles of Best Buy in Mountain View a few weeks back, I was drawn to the incredibly low pricing of Sony's PS3 game console – well compared to that of the same product in Australia. The Sony Playstation has been around for a while now and has really found a niche for itself in the market place, not only as a gaming console, but as a media centre for the living room, where basically everything from playing a video game to watching the latest Bluray release and now Video On Demand can be achieved with the one device. VOD which is now a reality here in Australia completes the trifecta.

Buying anything electrical from the US and bringing it back to Australia comes with risks, but the world really is becoming a global village and to my relief, the $250 US Playstation 3 worked here in Australia, just as it did in country where it was originally destined. Come on, how many of you have plugged 240 volts into the 120 volt socket, which I might add is clearly labeled 120 volts, only to be breathe a sigh of relief that the PS3 really does have a universal power supply. J Everything I've thrown at it has played flawlessly – well Blurays and games anyway, and now it seems that the US PS3 has taken a liking to Australia VOD offerings through Sony AND the ABC's iView. Even my kids have discovered iView since the arrival of the PS3 and a quite content to watch their programs delayed and played straight to the Bravia at the flick of a switch.

As of last Thursday Australian PlayStation 3 owners finally caught up with the rest of the world with the PlayStation Network video store open for business, with downloadable full length movies available to those with a PS3.This brings the PS3 into line with Microsoft's Xbox 360 console, which already has a streaming video service available. Unlike Microsoft, who only offers rentals, Sony will give users options to either rent or buy movies. Movies can also be transferred to the PlayStation portable handheld device.

Pricing so far is slightly cheaper than purchasing a new DVD or Bluray with say a new run movie, 3 or 4 bucks cheaper than a disc. HD and SD versions are both available to purchase or rent with rentals will starting at $4. Purchased movies are downloaded to the PlayStation hard drive, where they can be viewed or transferred to a PSP. They also come wrapped in DRM, limiting playback of purchased movies to the PS3 or PSP. Adam Turner will have more on this in this week's view from the couch.

Movie data downloaded to the PS3 will be subject to your Internet download limits, but the good news is, if your ISP supports FREE iView, like mine does, you won't mind the 1.2 GB download the kids put in the monthly usage on Saturday alone.  This is it folks – VOD is here in Oz. If you've been holding off to see what's going to happen, now is the time to re evaluate the market. Keep away from ISP contracts like those of Telstra and Optus and keep your options open, as this will certainly start to push us towards the US model where we all you can eat broadband (limitless downloads) is the norm. The speed at which you consume is proportional to the price you pay! Bring it on!

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Adam Turner takes a look Video on Demand and Sony's Playstation 3
  • Pakistan shuts down YouTube, Facebook
  • Google announced the new Chrome web store
  • Telstra takes Next G out to sea, and
  • Google takes Apps cloud to the enterprise
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Episode 20/2010 - TX: May 17 2010 (Ep 280)
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Google Camera CarLast week it was Adobe and Apple hogging the tech limelight, this week it's Google's turn with the accusation of Wi-Fi sniffing from the camera cars used to collect images for Google's street view project. The BBC has reported that Google has admitted that for the past three years it has wrongly collected information people have sent over unencrypted Wi-Fi networks.

The issue came to light after German authorities asked to audit the data the company's Street View cars gathered as they took photos viewed on Google maps. Google said during a review it found it had "been mistakenly collecting samples of payload data from open networks" which will now increase concerns about potential privacy breaches.
The data collected could include parts of an email, text or photograph or even the website someone may be viewing. In a blogpost Google said as soon as it became aware of the problem it grounded its Street View cars from collecting wi-fi information and segregated the data on its network.

Back home in Australia, the ABC has reported a similar story with Geordie Guy, the vice-chair of Electronic Frontiers Australia highlighting the fact that every wireless device has it's own unique serial number. Geordie went on to say “They (Google) may not be able to tell which house, or which side of the road it's on, but they'll be able to map where those are"

The office of Australia's privacy commissioner Karen Curtis responded in a statement that their preliminary inquiries had indicated generally that the information about Wi-Fi networks that Google is collecting would probably not on its own be considered personal information under the Privacy Act.

Storm in a tea cup? Maybe, but the sheer fact that global citizens are exposing themselves to all manor of prying, either by the likes of Google, or any other passer buy, means that they must assumes some level of responsibility.

According to the BBC, Google said the problem dated back to 2006 when "an engineer working on an experimental Wi-Fi project wrote a piece of code that sampled all categories of publicly broadcast Wi-Fi data". That code was included in the software the Street View cars used and "quite simply, it was a mistake"

"This incident highlights just how publicly accessible, open, non-password protected Wi-Fi networks are today." Dan Kaminsky, director of penetration testing for security firm Ioactive who was recently on Tech Talk Radio, said there was no intent by Google. He was reported to say that "This information was leaking out and they picked it up. If you are going to broadcast your email on an open Wi-Fi, don't be surprised if someone picks it up."

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • HTC tries to block iPhone, iPad and iPod sales in the US,
  • Adam Turner takes a look at the ongoing Flash debacle
  • Telstra ups the speed between Melbourne and Sydney, and
  •  iiNet is off to the courts again with AFACT over Copyright issues that just won't go away.
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Episode 19/2010 - TX: May 10 2010 (Ep 279)
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Late last week Microsoft announced that it's new IE9 browser will not support Adobe Flash either in what seems to be a major move to HTML 5, the newest incarnation of code that brings websites to your browser.  Writing in Microsoft's IEBlog, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer arm, weighs in on the Flash debate echoing some of the arguments put forth by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his much discussed “Thoughts of Flash" essay which also appeared on the Apple site in recent times.

In the past week Microsoft has clarified its stance on supporting Flash in Internet Explorer 9, explaining that it will continue to offer support for the software as a plug-in, as it has always done. IE general manager Dean Hachamovitch said in a blog post last week that "the future of the web is HTML5", and many assumed that Microsoft was dropping Flash support in the browser. However, the company has since noted that it had never natively supported Flash in IE9, but instead had done so through plug-ins. Hachamovitch published a follow-up blog post addressing numerous comments including those seeking reassurance over Microsoft's position on Flash.

He explained "Several comments asked about Microsoft's support for plug-ins (like Flash and Silverlight). Of course, IE9 will continue to support Flash and other plug-ins. Plug-ins are important for delivering innovation and functionality ahead of standards"  "For web browsers, developers can continue to offer plug-ins so that web pages can play video using these codecs on Windows. For example, web pages will still play VC-1 (Microsoft WMV) files in IE9.

However, Hachamovitch added that uncertainty in the industry over web standards for video meant that Microsoft will stick with its plan to deliver video through HTML5. He went on to say that "The biggest obstacle to supporting more than H.264 is the uncertainty.
H.264 video offers a more certain path than other video formats, and does so in a way that delivers a great HTML5 experience for developers and end-users.  Microsoft's refusal to support Flash as a native element of its browser will still be a sore point for Adobe as it tries to stamp its authority on the web video market.

In a turn for the better this week, Adobe has fought back at Apple's crusade against it by showing off what Flash can do on a rival to the iPad, an Android-based tablet from Google. While Apple has banned its customers from using Flash, Adobe was showing punters at the Web 2.0 Expo in San Francisco what Flash looked like on upcoming Android-based tablets.  Adobe's chief technical officer Kevin Lynch has slammed Apple's policy on Flash as anti-competitive and anti-internet.

So while flash may have pulled through a near death experience this week, there's still going to be a rough road ahead as the Apple juggernaut rolls out 1 million iPads a month, as well as countless iPhones.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Net filter circumvention: it's completely legal
  • Kevin Lynch (Adobe CTO) delivers harsh criticism at Web 2.0 Expo
  • Government claims NBN will pay itself off
  • iPad traffic is 10% non-US
  • Google Latitude actually proving popular and             
  • We talk to Sandrina Branton, senior sales managers for BMC software about women in IT
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Episode 18/2010 - TX: May 3 2010 (Ep 278)
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Adobe Flash -Apple RIP Adobe must be wondering what it did wrong to have it's Flash product rejected by Apple, and now Microsoft. Late last week Microsoft announced that it's new IE9 browser will not support Adobe Flash either in what seems to be a major move to HTML 5, the newest incarnation of code that brings websites to your browser.  Writing in Microsoft's IEBlog, Dean Hachamovitch, general manager of Microsoft's Internet Explorer arm, weighs in on the Flash debate echoing some of the arguments put forth by Apple CEO Steve Jobs in his much discussed “Thoughts of Flash" essay which also appeared on the Apple site in recent times.

According to the blog, “The future of the web is HTML5," “Microsoft is deeply engaged in the HTML5 process with the W3C. HTML5 will be very important in advancing rich, interactive Web applications and site design. The HTML5 specification describes video support without specifying a particular video format. We think H.264 is an excellent format. In its HTML5 support, IE9 will support playback of H.264 video only."

So Microsoft, like Apple, is casting its lot with HTML5, and largely for the same reasons. That said, it's not abandoning Flash entirely. Not yet, anyway, but it certainly seems that the writing for flash is on the wall. Flash started its life as an alternative to Microsoft's Powerpoint, a program that rose from the ashes of Macromedia's Director application, and as a result, was proprietary, which it is still is to this day.

This fact alone may be detrimental to its longevity and is one of the main reasons why Steve Jobs is against it, but it also has its own unique way of development using action scripts to achieve some of its niceties which does not really follow mainstream coding syntax.

Flash also requires plug ins to be installed on browsers which certainly opens up exploitation opportunities as the humble web browser is still the tool of choice for unscrupulous members of the online community. HTML 5 certainly looks to have the edge on the old Flash dinosaur.

Apple CEO Steve Jobs says in an open letter “Today the two companies (Apple and Adobe) still work together to serve their joint creative customers – Mac users buy around half of Adobe's Creative Suite products – but beyond that there are few joint interests" 
Steve goes on to say, that “besides the fact that Flash is closed and proprietary, has major technical drawbacks, and doesn't support touch based devices, there is an even more important reason we do not allow Flash on iPhones, iPods and iPads. We have discussed the downsides of using Flash to play video and interactive content from websites, but Adobe also wants developers to adopt Flash to create apps that run on our mobile devices. Apple knows from painful experience that letting a third party layer of software come between the platform and the developer ultimately results in sub-standard apps and hinders the enhancement and progress of the platform.

So if Apple and Microsoft don't see a future in Flash, it seems that Flash will no longer flash, as developers head down the path of HTML5. 

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Microsoft has put another nail in Adobe's Flash coffin,
  • iiNet welcomes Netspace users into the fold,
  • Conroy answers some tricky filter questions,
  • Lidija Davis reveals just what's behind that stolen iPhone prototype
  • Adam looks at Sony's top of the line DVD recorder, 
  • Linux isn't as spam free as first thought, and
  • NASA has a very expensive “Whoops" in Alice Springs.
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Episode 17/2010 - TX: April 26 2010 (Ep 277)
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Mountainview WifiI can't help to think back to when Telstra was run by the three amigos, one of which was Phil Burgess. Remember him? He was the controversial bull terrier of the organization, who had the role of group managing director of Public Policy and Communications. He had an uncanny ability to get most people off side as he spruiked the then Telstra policy of command and conquer, but that's history now.

When Phil decided to move on, in his parting speech, he made mention of how bad the mobile phone services were in the United States, compared to that in Australia. At the time, I didn't really realize just how bad things could be in the US until I experienced the American cell phone network first hand in the last two weeks. I chose AT&T as carrier of choice because I wanted to give Apple's iPhone a run for it's money in its home network. Having purchased a prepaid mobile and service and sim which was easy to get going, I was annoyed that the sim was locked to a device. Unlike here in Australia where SIM cards can be swaped between devices, it isn't possible on the AT&T plan I was on in the US.

There's also no such thing as roaming onto another network like we do here either. If AT&T didn't have coverage then I didn't either, Call drops were quite common, and in places where you would expect blanket coverage, such as Palo Alto in Silicon Valley California. It paid to remain stationary while on the phone.

In another bizarre twist, it is impossible to buy prepaid mobile data in the US. While post paid isn't a problem, if you need mobile broadband you'll need to commit to a contract. Not very practicable for a tourist like me. Having spent some time chatting to the phone specialist at Best Buy, I came to the realization that I wasn't going to be able to use the iPhone in the land of the free.

But here's the twist. I had my Telstra SIM in my iPhone, and the phone signed on to the AT&T network without a hitch, and surprise surprise, when there was no AT&T coverage, the iPhone logged in to T-Mobile. How cool. My iPhone with a Telstra SIM could do what no other US cell phone could do – switch between networks as coverage dictated. So maybe the last laugh is on the Three Amigos, I'm sure they the have the best mobile coverage in the US.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

    • Adam turner takes a look at new video on demand offerings in Australia and how you can benefit,
      McAfee admits "inadequate" quality control caused PC meltdown,
    • Android now runs on iPhone, and
    • Adobe hits back at Apple over Flash
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Episode 14/2010 - TX: April 6 2010 (Ep 276)
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Conroy seems damned if he does damned if doesn't these days, and why wouldn't he. According in reports in ITwire last week,Communications Minister Stephen Conroy rejected suggestions from ALP colleague Senator Kate Lundy that the Government offer an ''opt-out' for its plan for a mandatory ISP-level filter.

On the eve of the introduction of filtering legislation to parliament, Senator Conroy appeared on the 'Australia Talks' program on Radio National last night to battle an almost universal condemnation of the filtering scheme where he reiterated his policy and said Australian citizens should not be able to opt out of the filter as the Government does not allow the same liberties with other forms of media.

The Minister said he had received no official complaint from the US State Department about his plans to filter the Australian internet and yet The Australian newspaper reported that the State Department contacted the Australian Government to express its concerns over the filter. Who's telling porkies now then?

A caller accused the Minister of only using examples of content that causes "moral outrage" - such as child pornography and bestiality - as examples of what would be blocked, which suggested to him a "political agenda." But the Minister argued that trials of the filtering technology found it to be "100 percent accurate".

There would be "no overblocking or underblocking," he said. "It is 100 percent accurate, and blocks only an individual page within a network."He said that pages providing detail on how to commit suicide would be blocked, while pages containing debate about euthanasia as an issue would be left unscathed.  Conroy said the Howard government's client filtering alternative was a "complete failure" because less than 30,000 Australians downloaded a filter at a cost to the Federal Government of $84 million.

November is fast approaching and Conroy has two ticking time bombs in his portfolio – the NBN which still remains in limbo as there's been no decision made in the carve up of Telstra, and the internet filter which has been the target of world wide condemnation.  If only we knew what the Opposition party had in mind for both, we may have a clearer picture of what's in store for communications in this country in the decades to come.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

    • Conroy under attack from all directions?
    • Google toys with closing Australian office,
    • Microsoft deploys updates for Internet Explorer outside the normal cycle
      The creator of the worlds first PC dies and
    • Adam tells about the latest domain scams
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Episode 13/2010 - TX: March 29 2010 (Ep 275)
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Some food for thought as we all plunge head first in the world of the 21st century - a world where social networking, Twitter, Facebook, and youtube reign supreme. What happens to your online presence when you die? Yes, I bet you hadn't thought of that because neither had I until I caught a recent episode of the ABC's program, Hungry Beast.  Quite a vexing question really. Death in the physical world is inevitable, but is immortality assured in the virtual world?

It's a dilemma which needs some careful consideration, as the digital you will certainly live on. So what will the people you leave behind discover about the digital you? The more active you are in social networking sites and email, the bigger your digital footprint becomes. Regardless of what you've sent via email, uploaded to a video site such as youtube or kept buried in your Facebook page, could become available to your next of kin after your sudden demise. Oh, and if your demise is too sudden, then law enforcement agencies may also get the keys to your to your online boudoir.

Hungry Beast went on to reveal that “digital legacy is such a new idea that all companies do not have a policy on it yet." Yahoo requires a court order to hand over your password to the next of kin. Facebook will “Memorialize" your page meaning it stays up but is locked or frozen, meaning no changes or comments are possible. Gmail and Hotmail will hand over passwords providing they receive a death certificate as well as proof of your relationship to the deceased and Myspace has no policy.

So as the technological revolution continues to change life as we know it, it might be timely to leave the keys to the online palace somewhere accessible by a will. Also, the thought of an emerging industry of digital undertakers is quite creepy. Just think about it – a company full of people not unlike yourself, trawling the internet deleting the digital you after your six foot under – pushing up the daises.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

    • What happens to the digital you after the real you dies?
    • A hacker gets 20 years for credit card fraud,
    • More low income Telstra users seek bill help,
    • Firefox puts windows 7 support on hold and
    • Adam checks out the AFL's online Dream Team application.

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Episode 12/2010 - TX: March 22 2010 (Ep 274)
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The dust has barely settled on the AFACT vs iiNet copyright case, when news it.co.uk reported this week that the UK Government plans to force ISPs to crackdown on copyright abuse. The ambitious plan will cost the industry between £250 million and £500 million ($830 million) according to an estimate published by the Department for Business.

A report tabled in the UK Parliament said file sharing of audio, video, data, or anything in digital format between users on a computer network "has increased significantly in the last few years which has served to reduce the incentive for the creative industries to invest in the development, production and distribution of new innovative content."

The report went on to say that the UK government's intention, is to make it easier for rights holders to bring targeted civil actions against suspect copyright infringers and place obligations on ISPs when informed by rights holders to notify subscribers of their unlawful behaviour and to maintain records of the most frequent offenders to allow rights holders to take targeted legal action – something not that dissimilar from what AFACT were after.

It's worth noting that what Australians can do legally when making copies of media for personal use most likely differs from what uk citizens can do, as copyright laws are legislated by the respective countries parliaments, but it's safe to say the protection of copyright owners rights is paramount in both, the different here is that the UK parliament is opening up a path to the consumer which is what hasn't happened here but may.

Australian Federal court judge Justice Cowdroy found that ISPs cannot be held responsible for what their customers do on their network, which is subject to appeal in the High court of Australia soon. It seems that the powers that be in the UK have skipped these phase and opened up the possibility of mandatory reporting to copyright holders of what people are downloading through British ISPs

Both the Australian and British governments head off to the polls this year, and both have internet issues to take to the voters. One thing's for sure, both governments are putting citizen privacy to the test.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

    • Adam compares CD to downloads,
    • Telstra opens the door to LTE mobile communications,
    • Google set to leave china next month
    • iiNet to seek clarification in High court and
    • IE9 not compatible with Windows XP

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Episode 11/2010 - TX: March 15 2010 (Ep 273)
Pod

When we, as consumers, sign up to a telecommunications provide for mobile voice and data, chances are they want their pound of flesh for about 24 months, which in the world of technology, is an incredibly long time. Just take a look at the handset you were using two years ago, and compare it to the gadget you're currently using. But it's not just the technology you hold in your hand or plug into your computer… the door swings both ways.

Have you considered the technology and service that you receive from your telco which connects you to the world? The contract you enter into with your telco is all about tying you to them, and what you're allowed to do with the services they provide not the quality of service they provide to you. Some even go to the extent of what they call a “fair use policy" which in plain speak means they can limit or even disconnect you from their network if the feel the urge. But what happens if their service deteriorates to a point where it becomes unusable where once it was rock solid?

When Telstra turned off their CDMA network a few years back to make way for the 3rd Generation mobile network, there was quite a song and dance from both government and consumers to ensure that the new network  performed just as well, if not better than the outgoing CDMA network.

Earlier this month, Hutchison 3 switched their roaming partner from Telstra to Vodafone, a switch which certainly saves 3 Money, but at the cost of call drops to a point where the only way to use a mobile phone connected to 3 is to be stationary. If you're driving through the eastern suburbs of Melbourne, it is no longer possible to keep a call connected for any longer than a few minutes – something which until the switch, was never an issue. Maybe 3 don't have their in call handovers working just right yet, but the chorus of anger and willingness to switch back to Telstra is starting to become hard to ignore.

So what about the contract between the phone company and you? Because 3 is a city centric carrier and does not have the reach and coverage of the incumbent, it probably won't raise the attention of politicians or the general public, but if you're a Hutchison 3 user, there's not much you can do apart from churn to another carrier. After all, the contract you're in will say nothing about the level of service they have to provide. So what's it to be 3? If you don't restore the network usability to what it was in quick smart time, the mass exodus will start… and we all know how hard it is to retain customers in a saturated mobile communications market.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

    • Adam talks to Dlink about the new Boxee Box
    • Lidija Davis talks to Dan Kaminsky about flawed DNS (below)
    • X-ray vision' coming soon to Nokia phones, yes you heard right – X-ray Vision,
    • Joe Hockey praised for his filtering stance and
    • The Do Not Call Register about to expire

Dan Kaminsky

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Episode 10/2010 - TX: March 8 2010 (Ep 272)
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This week, a new internet survey by Whirlpool Australia's leading internet forum, highlights the underlying thoughts of Australian internet users when it comes to Conroy's controversial internet filter, which, if surveys are to be believed, could be the undoing of the Rudd government at the Federal election at the end of this year.

ProtestersAccording to Whirlpool's website, The survey was conducted over a four week period — from 1 January to 1 February 2010, during which it was successfully completed and verified a total of 23,683 times.

The results show a significant opposition to the government's ISP filtering plan, with only 7.4% indicating support. It also reveals that over 90% of respondents believe they could easily circumvent the filter if it was in place. The survey also covers consumers' attitudes on a wide variety of topics relating to their choice of broadband ISP and hardware which will be discussed at length on today's show.

The survey also revealed that education is paramount to online safety. Educating parents about the perils of the online world should be the government's main priority even above educating children. Parents are responsible for what their children say and do online, and greater emphasis needs to be placed on getting parents to learn and share with their kids online, regardless of whether they are or are not internet savvy. Surfing the web should be a family affair, not just left to the unsupervised computer in the study.

Dr Ron also took to the streets this week and made his way to the State Library of Victoria, (pictured above) which is located at the northern end of the Melbourne CBD for the Open internet Rally.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • With the launch of Apples new iPad, Adam talks to Rusland Kogan about his new tablet,
  • Hungry Beast has some very thought provoking words to say about Google
  • Apple sues HTC over phones with Google software and
  • Is internet censorship a vote changer?

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Episode 9/2010 - TX: March 1 2010 (Ep 271)
Pod

There are good sides and bad sides to social networking, and recently the bad side has been making headlines with disturbing regularity. Some members of the community think that it's OK to vent on sites such as blogs and facebook without any chance of being held accountable for their actions or in this case their words. Defamation is a false accusation or a malicious misrepresentation of someone's words or actions, something which is becoming extremely prevalent on today's social networking sites.

The general law has divided defamation into two categories - libel and slander. Libel is the publication of defamatory matter in permanent form, while slander is the publication of defamatory matter in non-permanent form. Something defamatory that is printed in a newspaper or book is libel, but the same thing, if spoken, is slander. Under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992, the publication of defamatory matter over radio or television is deemed to be in permanent form and is, therefore, libel.

Since the introduction of the Defamation Act 2005 on 1st January 2006, the distinction between slander and libel is abolished and the publication of defamatory matter of any kind is actionable without proof of special damage.

It is not uncommon for individuals to vent their frustrations in the online world, a world which is becoming more permanent as time rolls by, thanks to certain technologies which take snapshots of the internet at regular intervals to preserve it for posterity. (ie Wayback Machine) Saying something (online) in the heat of the moment can have long term and far reaching ramifications to both the author and those who are the subject of said outburst. It's extremely hard to remove these comments once published on the internet so unless things are factually correct, go easy on naming names and emotional outbursts on sites like facebook.

It should also be noted that parents are still legally responsible for what their children say and do online, and it's not uncommon that the first a parent will hear of such online outbursts is when law enforcement officers come knocking.

Just this week in Australia legal counsel Martin Bennett had a short message for those who allow themselves to attack reputations over the internet, imagining they are safe under the cloak of anonymity. He said ''You can be hunted down and found'' Mr Bennett has done just that for a Perth client, winning $30,000 in damages and costs, an apology, and undertakings from a Colac man that he won't post any more defamatory comments.

So a warning to all this week; be careful what you write, say and publish online. There is no such thing as anonymity on the internet, and things said in the heat of the moment have a way of coming back to haunt, either in a civil or criminal way.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • Adam checks out what's under the hood of the new range of Sony Bravia flat screen TVs
  • AFACT to appeal the IInet piracy ruling
  • Opposition continues to rise for conroys internet filter
  • Facebook win a patent over news feeds, and
  • Skype withdraws from windows mobile.

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Episode 8/2010 - TX: February 22 2010 (Ep 270)
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The internet is a living, breathing entity. Each day something new rears its head, sometimes it's good sometimes not so. Last week Lidija Davis drew our attention to a new social networking site which is sending shivers down the spine of many parents and law enforcement experts alike.

Introducing chatroulette – a website that allows random strangers to talk face to face via webcam. The media feeding frenzy began early last week with articles most major newspapers including the Melbourne Age, Sydney Morning-Herald, the UK Guardian, and the New York Times.

According to Alan Long, a researcher for Pacific, Online global sensations are far and few between and there is no guarantee whether Chatroulette is a flash in the pan novelty or whether it can be leveraged into a longer term idea of substance. He said that this is a smart piece of hacking or mashing from a Russian teenager that makes use of Skype to connect people around the world, and as the name suggests, it is a bit of a roulette gamble on the strangers you'll connect to via your webcam.

As the word started to spread, and a media driven peak on 16 February. Chatroulette currently stands as the 481th ranked website visited by Australian Internet users (17 February 2010), down from the peak of 356 the previous day and the number two webcam website behind Coastal Watch.

Chatroulette at face value looks relatively harmless, the concern is that it will connect unsuspecting people with a raft of unscrupulous villains who don't have the same motive in mind. It certainly is not for the young members of the family, nor the old for that matter.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

  • 3DTV update
  • Microsoft and Yahoo cleared to tackle Google in the US and EU
  • Google faces class action claim over Buzz privacy
  • Is the MacBook Pro finally going to get its Intel Core i5 upgrade next month
  • Google traces recent attacks to Chinese schools and
  • there are security warnings a plenty with Microsoft and Mozilla releasing patches.

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Episode 7/2010 - TX: February 15 2010 (Ep 269)
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Most Zoos around the world have a vast range of Animals, from the cute and cuddly to the dangerous and lethal. Would it surprise you that the Zoo, or menagerie of animals that Optus have been rolling out on our screens, magazines and online over the past however many years they've been playing in the Australian market, has omitted some of its prize beasts, one in particular is the scorpion.

A colleague, who wanted upgrade his handset, looked at the option to break his “Yes $79 cap". He had a 12 month contract which  had 9 months to run and was looking to re contract with a new handset, a scenario that many Australians would consider as a their existing contracts near an end. Doing the maths, and based on other contracts that telco's have been dishing up over the years, it was estimated that with 9 months to run, Optus would want something in the order of 9 x $79 or $711 dollars. This was calculated on the minimum spend over the remaining duration of the contract.

Time to call Optus to find out the payout fee. It was at this time that American Raccoon was caged, and my colleague was introduce to the North African Scorpion, Hottentotta.

Hottentotta can kill a human in less than 10 minutes, so it has one hell of a sting in its tail.

To his, and everybody's amazement, the payout figure was not $711, it was a staggering $1064. Now a close inspection of the Optus web page, where it spruiks it's “Yes Cap Plans" reveals all the services and “good" things you get, it even states the total minimum cost for the 12 month contract which is $948. At no point, even after expanding the Terms and Conditions, does it specify a payout or a formula for payout which I would think most consumers would want to know, if not have the right to know before entering into such an agreement. What is an "initial termination fee"? Confused? You're not alone.

It's interesting to see that the TIO (Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman) has seen an almost doubling of complaints in the 12 months 2007/8 to 2007/9 across the four sectors of telecommunications, mobile premium, internet, mobile and landline. Their current report is available for download on their website, and highlights a very worrying trend.

TIO Issues 2009

There are several lessons to be learnt here, firstly don't assume all the information you need is online. If something bothers you about an offer, or if it seems too good to be true, then ring and ask the company concerned. Chances are there is cause for concern. Secondly, there are always other options – other companies, even prepaid options. If you have a desire for a new handset, buy it outright and put your existing SIM card in it, go on a non contract plan or even prepaid. You cash flow may suffer short term, but you won't regret it.

So for those who brazenly go into feet first into contacts with companies like Optus, just beware of their scorpion breeding program. Chances are they have plenty of other critters in their zoo you won't see in their ad campaigns.

This week on Tech Talk Radio

Senator Conroy is still up selling his Internet filter<br />
There's a Buzz surrounding Google, and it's a bit deja vous<br />
Adam puts it up to the commercial networks over P2P<br />
The internet industry rejects Conroy's call for code and<br />
Andy Sorcini, a.k.a. MrBabyman, is considered by many on the Web the king of Digg, he talks to Lidija Davis in Palo Alto California.

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Episode 6/2010 - TX: February 8 2010 (Ep 268)
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It's been an action packed break this time around with the launch of Apples new iPad. The NBN costs just keep blowing out, in fact the deadlines just keep moving, and probably not the best in an election year, and the big news from last week was iiNet's win over the film houses in Australia's first landmark antipiracy case.

iiNet MaloneIn case you missed it, iiNet, one of Australia's largest internet suppliers was taken to task in the Federal Court over allowing its customers to download illegal material online. In plain speak, the movie companies, represented by AFACT (the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft) claimed that they had caught iiNet customers downloading movies using bit torrent. A special downloading application which makes for a fast and corruption free downloads of anything.

The 34 film companies represented by the AFACT have expressed disappointment in the Federal Court's decision to rule in favour of iiNet. The verdict by presiding judge, Justice Cowdroy found iiNet had not authorised copyright infringements across its network. The judge also ordered AFACT to pay iiNet's legal cost.

Most commentators think that this will not be the last we hear of this as AFACT has 15 days to appeal the verdict.

Neil Gane, AFACT executive director, expressed disappointment in the Court's decision saying “The decision is a set back for the 50,000 Australians employed in the film industry," but he believes this decision was based on a technical finding centered on the court's interpretation of the how infringements occur and the ISPs' ability to control them.

He went on to say that AFACT is confident that the Government does not intend a policy outcome where rampant copyright infringement is allowed to continue unaddressed and unabated via the iiNet network.

On the other side of the verdict iiNet welcomed the Federal Court's judgment. iiNet CEO Michael Malone said his company has never supported or encouraged breaches of the law, including infringement of the Copyright Act of the Telecommunications Act. The judgment is a vindication of that and the allegations against us have been proven to be unfounded.

Malone (pictured above) went on to say iiNet has always been, and will continue to be, a good corporate citizen and an even better copyright citizen. From our perspective today marks the end of the matter and we will continue to get on with the business. and continue to provide Australians with the access to fast and cheap broadband with innovative new services and products.

There'll be lot's more on this verdict from the panel on Today's Tech Talk Radio.

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Episode 5/2010 - TX: February 1 2010 (Ep 267)
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Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2009/9 Episode 8 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...

Georgia Simmons (Telstra Foundation) - Graham Henley (Get Data) - Michael Crimean (Audacious Productions) - Anthony Petts (HTC) - George Pongas (Domain Central)

In the Tech Talk Radio Summer Series we showcase the best bits of 2009, while The Panel has a well-earned holiday over Christmas and the New Year.

This week we're joined by:

    Georgia Simmons, representing the Telstra Foundation, offering financial grants for programmes dedicated to on-line child safety;

    Graham Henley from “Get Data" joins The Panel to discuss data backups, data security and data recovery;

    Michael Crimean is a professional audio engineer and joins us from Audacious Productions. Michael has been a guest on The Panel several times and discusses digital television, surround sound and home theatre technology;

    Adam Turner attended the launch of the HTC Magic in Sydney and speaks to Anthony Petts, the HTC Sales & Marketing Director for ANZ; and

    George Pongas, the Chief Operating Officer of Domain Central, tells us all about domain name registration and hosting providers.
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Episode 4/2010 - TX:January 25 2010 (Ep 268)
Pod

Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2009/9 Episode 7 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...

Jason Stirling (Genesys Labs), Matthew Robinson (Digital TV in Europe) and Eugene Kaspersky (Kaspersky Lab)

In the Tech Talk Radio Summer Series we showcase the best bits of 2009, while The Panel has a well-earned holiday over Christmas and the New Year.

This week we're joined by:

  • Jason Stirling, the president of Genesys Labs for Australia, New Zealand and India. Jason speaks to us about Interactive Voice Response systems, speech recognition and call centre technology;
  • Matthew Robinson is a long-time friend of The Panel and filed a report in 2007 on the state-of-play of Digital Television, Digital Radio and DVB-C in Europe; and
  • Eugene Kaspersky of Kaspersky Lab spoke to Andrew about the anti-virus industry and internet security.
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Episode 3/2010 - TX:January 18 2010 (Ep 267)
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Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2009/9 Episode 6 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...

James Farmer (WordPress), Bruce Matthews (ACMA) and Brett de Hoedt (Hootville)

In the Tech Talk Radio Summer Series we showcase the best bits of 2009, while The Panel has a well-earned holiday over Christmas and the New Year.

This week we're joined by:

  • James Farmer of WordPress fame. James speaks to us about blogging, social networks, social websites, citizen journalism and the “bloggeratti";
  • Bruce Matthews from the ACMA. Bruce discusses the Federal Government's anti-spam initiative, “Spam Matters", and what the Government's Hi-Tech Crime Centre does with your reported spam;
  • And last but certainly not least, Brett de Hoedt of Hootville fame joins us to talk about PR and Media for Not-For-Profit organisations. Brett is a long-time friend of The Panel and spent many years on Melbourne's 3AK, where he introduced a technology segment to his successful talk show, ably assisted by 1 x Andrew McColm.
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Episode 2/2010 - TX:January 11 2010 (Ep 266)
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Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2009/9 Episode 5 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...

This week we're hearing from:

  • Sally Cockburn aka Dr Feelgood about Pillow Talk, and her love for technology
  • Adam Turner and Windows 7 launch in 2009
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Episode 1/2010 - TX: January 4 2010 (Ep 265)
Pod

Tech Talk Radio Summer Series 2009/9 Episode 4 of 8.
Re-live some of the best from the series so far...

This week we're hearing from:

  • Kit Webster, who's completed a Fine Arts degree, talking about Technology in Fine Arts;
  • Grace Kerrison from Microsoft, talking about the results of a survey into people's mobile phone texting;
  • Martin Gregory from Microsoft, talking about the release of Microsoft's Foundation Server; and
  • Robert Broomhead from the Wireless Institute of Australia, talking about recent ACMA field office closures.

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