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Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Information Technology Supplier Advocate job abolished

Australia has abolished its Information Technology Supplier Advocate, a Canberra-based role designed to help small biz jump through the hoops of government contracting. The incumbent, Don Easter, finishes work next Monday. The position of Information Technology Supplier Advocate was created in 2010 when, as Labor Senator Kate …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014
Firefox OS RHS teaser

Mozilla dev dangles Chromecast clone dongle

Mozilla Developer Network principal developer evangelist Christian Heilmann has popped out a tweet mentioning an effort to clone Google's Chromecast dongle, but with Firefox OS under the hood. Chromecast is a minimalist Android computer that offers WiFi and an HDMI plug. The WiFi sucks video out of devices running Google's …
Simon Sharwood, 23 Jun 2014
A boat full of Fail

Vodafone AU frees data to atone for outage

Vodafone Australia has blamed yesterday's network outage on "transmission network failure" that hit its Western Australian operations. Whatever the reason for the failure, the carrier says its attempts to fix it foundered as "problems occurred which had an impact on the network nationally" manifested. The rest you know if you' …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Sony PV-100 Videocorder

Sony CEO forced to shush shareholder heckling at fiery AGM

Sony yesterday endured a fiery annual general meeting at which investors heckled CEO Kazuo Hirai. Over a decade of strife, the Japanese giant has become a byword for red ink, failed turnarounds and missed boats. Rivals like Samsung and LG have thrashed it in old markets like televisions while Apple beat it into new markets like …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Azure icon

Azure turns on disaster recovery service

Microsoft has made a small-but-significant change to its Hyper-V Recovery Manager service. Now known as Microsoft Azure Site Recovery, the tool still enables Hyper-V users to automate backup of virtual machines and organises failover to a disaster recovery site. The important change is that Azure can now be used as the disaster …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Breaking ground on Cerro Armazones for the E-ELT

KA-BOOOM! Boffins blow up mountain to make way for telescope

Work has commenced on the European Extremely Large Telescope (E-ELT), the 40-metre-class 'scope that will sit atop Chile's Cerro Armazones mountain and collect thirteen times more light than any comparable instrument. The project almost started with a bang: this video starts with plenty of tedious speeches before, at about the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
flag.Australia

Australia's eMinister has policy-crush on UK's Liam Maxwell

Australia's Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has offered a little more detail on his plans for electronic delivery of government services and the way Australia will procure the kit required to deliver them. Writing in The Guardian Australia, Turnbull detailed a meeting with Liam Maxwell this week. Neelie Kroes, the …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
The Project Loon team prepares solar panels, electronics and balloon envelopes for launch as the sun rises in New Zealand.

That's no plane wreck, that's a Google Wi-Fi balloon

Emergency Services in New Zealand town today scrambled to assist what they thought was a downed plane, but actually turned out to be one of Google's Project Loon WiFi-beaming balloons. Project Loon is Google's attempt to become an ISP of sorts by floating balloons over parts of the world where internet access is not often …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
Trade in Services Agreement parties

Bankers bid to use offshore temp techies

Financial services organisations could parachute IT staff in wherever they please instead of employing locals, under provisions of an annex to the Trade in Services Agreement (TISA) revealed today by WikiLeaks. TISA is a trade agreement aimed at making it easier for service providers to access foreign markets. But the Financial …
Simon Sharwood, 20 Jun 2014
snowden insider theft security

Snowden's HELPING public clouds says VMware hybrid head

VMware's senior veep and general manager for Hybrid Cloud Service Bill Fathers has told the Gigaom Structure conference that Edward Snowden's revelations about NSA snoopery have turned out to be a good thing for the hybrid cloud. In an interview visible here Fathers, at about the five minute mark, says the NSA's activities are “ …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
hitahi t7k500 hard disk drive

High-end storage tanked, but 'HDPA' storage about to soar says IDC

Box-counter IDC recently decreed that 2014's first quarter was a shocker for high-end storage sales, but also predicts things are looking up in storage used for what it now calls “high performance data analysis” (HPDA). IDC's veep for HPC and data analysis Steve Conway puts HDPA in a little perspective with a canned quote …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
Nokia and A.Sauvage's inducting charging pants

Mobe battery flat? These ELECTRIC PANTS will pump things up

MicroNokia's ongoing efforts to convince world+dog that inductive charging is a very good idea has just taken important strides with the release of a pair of electric pants. The product of British designer A. Sauvage, the pants are said to have “used the technology from the new Nokia DC-50 wireless charging plate”, a new …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
Vodafone UK booster brolly

Vodafone AU in new four-hour Vodafail

Vodafone Australia's infamous Vodafail appears to have returned, with punters across the nation reporting ... nothing. Which to say no ability to make calls or send text messages for around four hours during the Australian afternoon. At 13:40 Vodafone's network blog posted this message admitting that "We are currently …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
Bitcoins

US marshals leak list of possible Bitcoin buyers

The U.S. Marshals Service's auction for the for 29,656.51306529 Bitcoin it seized from online recreational pharmaceuticals purveyor Silk Road has gone off the rails after the Service accidentally spilled a list of interested parties. Coindesk reports that an email sent to those asking for information about the auction listed …
Simon Sharwood, 19 Jun 2014
ALP stop the cuts poster

ALP email SNAFU spaffs campaign plan to world+dog

The Australian Labor Party's New South Wales branch appears to have emailed a confidential campaign plan to the wrong people. Vulture South subscribes to several political parties' supports' lists in order to find possible stories. An Australian Labor Party (ALP) missive that hit our inbox this morning offers the subject line “ …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014

Indian DEITY hands down new manufacturing subsidy plan

India's Department of Electronics and Information Technology – which cheerfully uses the domain name deity.gov.in – is making a play to bring more electronics manufacturing work to the sub-continent. India and the Department established a Modified Special Incentive Package Scheme (MSIPS) in 2012, offering to rebate up to 25 per …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014
VMware Monster VM

VMWorld content catalog hints at slow AirWatch integration

VMware has released the content catalogue for VMworld San Francisco, and it offers a hint or three about what the company might announce at the event. Perhaps the most tantalisingly-named session is titled Preview the Latest Release from AirWatch. "Previewing" suggests, at least to us, that you should rule out a major launch …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014

Samsung peddles tyred Smart Bike concept

Samsung has started peddling a smart bicycle prototype. The self-propelled two-wheeler includes a battery, rear-facing camera, WiFi and Bluetooth routers of some sort and “laser projectors”. The latter devices let the bike shine bright red lines on the road, the better to warn motorists of riders' presence. The lasers will …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014
borg_cube

Cisco promises Lync link for its UC kit and collaborationware

Cisco has spent the last couple of years talking up its unified communications and collaboration portfolios, often suggesting it is at the top of the market. If that assertion is correct it would be quite a coup, given that other players have a long head start. Cisco's been here before with IP telephony, a field in which it …
Simon Sharwood, 18 Jun 2014
Sydney Opera House Hackathon logo

NSW budget calls for lower GST threshold on imports

The Australian State of New South Wales' annual Budget has called for the threshold at which the nation's ten per cent goods and services tax (GST) is applied to imported goods to be lowered. The GST is collected by Australia's federal government, but handed back to the States. While the tax applies to most goods and services, …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014

Stopping IT price gouging would risk SOCIALIST DYSTOPIA!

In March 2013, Australia conducted a Parliamentary Inquiry into IT Pricing, in part to figure out why kit and content costs more down under than elsewhere. The Inquiry compelled representatives of Apple, Adobe and Microsoft to appear. The latter two squirmed uncomfortably as they articulated arguments that they charge what the …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014

Wikipedia insists paid editors reveal their bits in public

The Wikimedia Foundation has changed its terms of use to insist that anyone paid to edit Wikipedia articles discloses their affiliation Section 4 of the terms of use, Refraining from Certain Activities, now includes a sub-section titled “Paid contributions without disclosure” that includes the following language: “ … you must …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014
The new Dell SC4020 array

Oh THOSE products, says Dell. Sure we'll sell them if you ask

Dell has unveiled new storage appliances and a server it probably won't try to sell to you. If that state of affairs seems odd, consider that the new re-privatised concern has a global business making kit for original equipment manufacturers. The resulting products end up in all manner of places where vendors need kit backed by …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014

Space station 'nauts will use URINE-FUELLED ESPRESSO MACHINE

A critical issue standing between humanity and its manifest future - that is to say, the availability of decent coffee in space - has been solved with the invention of an espresso machine which it's planned to send up to the International Space Station (ISS), groan-inducingly dubbed the ISSpresso. Italian astronauts Paolo …
Simon Sharwood, 17 Jun 2014

VMware puts a price on NSX and tells partners to open fire

VMware's NSX network virtualisation software has been added to the company's price list, a small-but-important milestone that sees the product available to resellers for the first time. Virtzilla announced NSX last August and released it in October of the same year, but until now has only sold it direct to customers. VMware …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jun 2014
Circuit board underwear by emiko-o

IBM says it's made your mobe more chatty

One of Big Blue 's out-of-sight, out-of-mind divisions says it has developed chippery to extend the range, speed and battery life of mobile phones. IBM last week announced the 7SW SOI, a Radio Frequency Silicon on Insulator it says is the latest in a product line it says has already clocked up over seven billion sales around the …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jun 2014
Toyota Camatte concept car with LED screen

Toyota catches up to William Gibson with LED hood

In William Gibson's 1994 novel Virtual Light, one of the characters' cars features “an animated hologram of a waterfall on the hood.” Fast forward 20 years and Toyota might just be about to deliver: at the 2014 Tokyo Toy Show the company showed off a vehicle with a hood covered in LEDs. The hood was hooked up to cameras, beneath …
Simon Sharwood, 16 Jun 2014

US allows commercial use of sharper satellite snaps

US-based satellite-images-for-sale outfit DigitalGlobe has had a win: its national government will allow it to sell higher-resolution images. As we noted in March, the US Senate has been considering whether local satellite operators should be allowed to sell more detailed images. The reason for the deliberations was that while …
Simon Sharwood, 15 Jun 2014
man_inks_deal_channel signs contract services

Microsoft promises no snooping in new fine print for web services

Microsoft has updated its Services Agreement, the legalese almost nobody bothers to read before clicking “I Agree” when signing up for online services. The changes are notable because Microsoft has been critical of Google's fine print in the “Scroogled” campaign pointing out that rival ad-slinging-based-on-search-results outfit …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014
O2 Pre-Paid Credit Card

Restaurant chain uses CARBON PAPER to fight credit card hack

Chinese restaurant chain P.F. Chang's China Bistro has resorted to mechanical credit card imprint-capture machines after credit and debit card information was stolen from some of its 200+ restaurants. The company says that last Tuesday, June 10th, “P.F. Chang's learned of a security compromise” and “Immediately … initiated an …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014

US Marshals seek buyer for Silk Road's Bitcoin

The U.S. Marshals Service is seeking a buyer for 29,656.51306529 Bitcoin it says once “resided on Silk Road servers.” Bitcoin exchange Preev.com says that translates into about $US17.65m at the time of writing. The Marshals' notice about the Bitcoin is framed as a chance to “submit a bid for purchase”. Bids must be accompanied …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014
heart.australia

Australia.gov.au Alpha design revealed to grateful nation

Australia's Department of Finance, within which resides the Australian Government Chief Technology Office (AGCTO), has revealed designs for the nation's new home page. The beta is available here, and if you click on the image below you'll get a look at a lovely big screen capture. Beta of the new australia.gov.au The new …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014
Broke - empty pockets

When will Microsoft next run out of US IPv4 addresses for Azure?

Microsoft's Azure cloud service has run out of occasionally runs out of US-based IPv4 addresses. Redmond 'fessed up to the issue in a blog post in which it says users have been asking it why, when they use Azure-hosted VMs, they find themselves redirected to websites localised for other nations. The post offers a screen shot of …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014
Parliament House Canberra by Flickr user OzMark17 used under CC Share and Share alike licence

Oz refugee data leak a SNAFU, says KPMG report

Australia's Department of Immigration and Border Protection needs to tighten up its publishing processes to prevent repeats of a January incident that saw personal details of 10,000 asylum seekers placed on the Web for all to see. Asylum seekers are a very controversial issue in Australia, especially those that arrive by boat. …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014
Sim card

Japan's DOCOMO suggests wearable SIM cards

Japanese mobile carrier DoCoMo has come up with an interesting idea: a wearable SIM card that authenticates all your devices on its network under a single account. The company says the portable SIM is currently a “pocketsize mini device” but that “further downsizing” will deliver “convenient wearable devices”. Those devices will …
Simon Sharwood, 13 Jun 2014
Assassin's Creed: Revelations

Women are too expensive to draw and code – Ubisoft

Ubisoft's creative director Alex Amancio has stirred up another row over sexism in the gaming industry by saying the studio's new game, Assassin's Creed Unity, doesn't feature any female characters because it would have been too much of an effort to create them. Amancio's opinion emerged in this video interview posted by gaming …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2014
A pair of pincers

Wintel pincers to squeeze iPads out of BYOD

Intel is about to muscle up, scale down, and take a serious shot at marginalising Apple's iPad among business buyers. The campaign started at Computex with the launch of the Core M just-for-typoslabs 14nm silicon. It is important to understand that Core-M is not just a new piece of “marketechture”. Instead it is a fully-fledged …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2014
Tiger Woods 2011

Scott McNealy to caddie for 18-year-old son at US Golf Open

What did Scott McNealy do once Oracle slurped Sun? If one were to be unkind, one could say he became a bagman. And then note that the term has few pejorative connotations in the sport of golf, where it denotes the club-schlepping, advice-giving caddies who accompany top players around the course. 18-year-old Maverick McNealy is …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2014
money_yen_dollar_pound

Ireland accused of giving Apple 'selective advantage'

The European Commission will investigate The Republic of Ireland's handling of Apple's tax affairs, after raising concerns that discretion available to the nation's tax authorities “... has been used in the case of Apple to grant a selective advantage to that company, reducing its tax burden below the level it should pay based …
Simon Sharwood, 12 Jun 2014
Motorway surveillance control room

SLOW DOWN: Insecure-by-design software on road

If your commute to work today featured an electronic highway sign suggesting you do something odd, the presence of a default password in sign management software called Daktronics Vanguard may be to blame. ICS CERT points out that an early panic that the software possessed a hardwired password can be dismissed. But the …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jun 2014

Glacier's hot butt melts ice, boffins say

Underground sources of geothermal heat have been named as one reason Antarctica's Thwaites Glacier is melting. Thwaites Glacier is a big contributor to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which is thought to be in danger of collapse in part because glaciers aren't sending it as much ice as has previously been the case. If the whole …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jun 2014

Microsoft poised to take Web server crown from Apache

Brace yourself for an almighty burst of self-congratulation from Microsoft, which is poised to take the crown for the world's most-used Web server. So says Netcraft's new monthly report on the state of the web, which offers the following data: Developer May 2014 Percent June 2014 Percent Change Apache 366,262,346 37.56% …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jun 2014
Phillip's bacon/soda bread combo

Apple's Irish tax lair to be probed by European Commission

Apple's tax arrangements in The Republic of Ireland are about to become the subject of an official European Commission investigation, according to a report by Irish public service broadcaster Raidió Teilifís Éireann (RTE). The report suggests competition commissioner Joaquin Almunia will take to the stage on or after June 11th …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jun 2014

Google's URL-hiding 'origin chip' is 'backburnered'

Google has “backburnered” a controversial feature that would have hidden full details of web addresses from Chrome users. The feature was called “origin chip” and, as we explained a few weeks back it removed all the characters beyond the top-level-domain from Chrome's Omnibox, as you can see below. The ad-slinger's rationale …
Simon Sharwood, 11 Jun 2014

Dell Australia managing director steps down

Joe Kremer, Dell's veep and managing director for Australia and New Zealand, has called it a day. Kremer will leave the building in July, to be replaced by Angela Fox. Fox currently leads Dell's services outfit in the Asia Pacific and Japan, having previously served in senior roles in the company's enterprise solutions business …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2014

Russian Interior Ministry cuffs iPhone ransomware suspects

Russia's Interior Ministry has announced the arrest of two chaps suspected of conducting ransomware attacks on iPhones. The Ministry's statement on the arrests describes a modus operandi that sounds an awful lot like that employed by “Oleg Pliss”, an entity that last month remotely locked iThings in Australia. Apple later …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2014

Torvalds hits 'Go' button for Linux 3.15

Linus Torvalds has pressed the “Go” button on version 3.15 of the Linux kernel. The new release will be welcomed by gamers and laptop owners, as the operating system is now said to suspend and resume operations rather more quickly. There's also support for Sony's DualShock 4 controller and improved drivers for some graphics …
Simon Sharwood, 10 Jun 2014
Dunce

600 school sysadmins sacked in New South Wales

The Department of Education and Communities (DEC) in the Australian state of New South Wales has chosen not to continue funding a program that paid for sysadmins in many schools. Funding for the sysadmins was initially made available under the Federal “Digital Education Revolution” (DER) program initiated by the Rudd government …
Simon Sharwood, 09 Jun 2014

The Strippers, Unicorn Computers and Martian Watches of Computex

I've been to plenty of technology shows around the world but never one as diverse as Computex, where you'll find single-board industrial computers side-by-side with strippers. Wire strippers at Computex What a tool All stripper jokes aside, to understand Computex you need to know that there are lots of scantily-clad young …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Jun 2014
George Bush in Game of Thrones

Game of Thrones scribe George R R Martin will KILL YOU for US$20K

Game of Thrones author George R R Martin is running a crowdfunding campaign in which he promises to kill you for US$20,000. The writer has launched the campaign to support a wolf sanctuary near his home in Santa Fe. As is the case with most crowdfunding capers, this campaign offers rewards of increasing value for contributions …
Simon Sharwood, 06 Jun 2014