Thursday, February 26, 2009

Byte Into It - 25 Feb 09

Asus planning to port Android to netbooks - Hardware - iTnews Australia
Asus is planning to port Android, Google's operating system designed for phones, onto netbooks.

According to an interview with Bloomberg Asus has allocated a squad of engineers to put the operating system onto its range of netbooks.

Asus kicked off the netbook market with the EeePC and retains a market position.

Initially Asius only offered netbooks running Linux but Microsoft has been quick to move into the sector and now licenses Windows XP to netbooks, getting it 85 per cent of that market, albeit at the cost of reduced royalty charges.

“With the strength of Google behind it, Android could really challenge Microsoft and steal some market share,” said Calvin Huang, a computer-industry analyst at Daiwa Securities Group Inc. in Taipei.

“The benefit is the free license and you can use a lower-power, cheaper processor.”

Google originally designed the Android operating system for mobile phones but the Linux-based system is proving flexible enough to be ported to a variety of platforms.
Microsoft reveals details of Gazelle browser - Internet - iTnews Australia
Microsoft researchers are working on a new browser called Gazelle which it promises will have some impressive new features and capabilities.

The firm released a research paper (PDF) late last week, saying that the new browser would offer significant security improvements compared to other browsers, including Internet Explorer.

"No existing browsers, including new architectures like Internet Explorer 8, Google Chrome and OP, have a multi-principal operating system construction that gives a browser-based operating system the exclusive control to manage the protection of all system resources among web site principals," Microsoft said in the report.

The browser will change this tradition by being built on its own kernel, in effect allowing it to operate as an operating system.

This means that Gazelle could intelligently identify traffic and react to anything malicious.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Easy login plans gather pace
Plans for a system that would allow people to use one username and password across the internet have moved closer with a number of popular sites agreeing to the scheme in recent weeks.

Earlier this month Facebook became the most recent site to sign up to OpenID, joining the board of the scheme that provides users with a single digital identity which can then be used across many websites.

Microsoft and Google were early adopters of the single sign-on scheme, and have since been joined by the likes of AOL, Yahoo, IBM and PayPal.

"The idea is that just as you can use e-mail anywhere on the web to sign up for a new service, you should be able to do the same thing with an Open ID - but without having to create a new password," Chris Messina, an Open ID board member told BBC World Service's Digital Planet programme.

'Reusable and durable'

Mr Messina, who describes himself as a "social web advocate," said that Open ID would be much more convenient than the current system of individuals having to create separate accounts for each website they visit.
BBC NEWS | Technology | Quake boosts browser video games
Classic game Quake III will be re-released for the web browser on Tuesday, highlighting the rapid development in web games.

It runs inside browsers after the installation of a software plug-in.

"It is a significant step which proves browser games can be sophisticated," said Michael French, editor of games industry magazine Develop.

Quake Live is a version of a PC game which was first launched in 1999.

The game is being released free of charge for browsers by id Software, and is supported by advertising. It opens to the public as a beta later on Tuesday.
BBC NEWS | Health | Game consoles 'cause skin sores'
A new skin disorder caused by use of games consoles has been identified by skin specialists.

The condition, dubbed PlayStation palmar hidradenitis, is described in the British Journal of Dermatology.

Researchers outline the case of a 12-year-old girl who attended a Swiss hospital with intensely painful sores on the palms of her hands.

The girl, who had been using a games console regularly, recovered fully after 10 days of abstinence.
The 30 best features of Windows 7 - Features - PC Authority
After the disappointment - perceived or otherwise - of Windows Vista, many are pinning their hopes on a revival with Windows 7. And from our first impressions of the pre-beta code, that's exactly what they can expect.
Microsoft readies new Windows 7 and Vista releases - News - PC Authority
New updates for Windows 7 beta and reports of impending Vista SP2 Release Candidate emerge.

Microsoft has announced it is to release new updates for PCs running the Windows 7 beta next week, whilst at the same time seeding the Release Candidate build of Service Pack 2 for Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 to a select group of testers.

In a posting on The Windows Blog, Windows 7 manager Brandon LeBlanc said the firm would be releasing up to five test updates on February 24, which “will allow us to test and verify our ability to deliver and mange the updating of Windows 7”.

LeBlanc was keen to emphasise that the updates would not deliver new features or bug fixes and would merely “replace system files with the same version of the file currently on the system”.

Users will need to manually install the updates through Windows Update, he added.

But as Windows 7 took a step closer to a full release, Microsoft has been busy preparing for a Windows Vista and Windows Server 2008 SP2 release, according to reports.

The Ars Technica site said the Vista SP2 RC, build 6002.16670.090130, was released to Microsoft Connect testers and will soon be made available to a broader range of testers via the Windows Update site.

Vista SP2 will include all previous updates and patches for the operating system, the site reported. There have also been reports of “significant performance improvements” over SP1, although SP2 RC contains 691 hotfixes, said Ars Technica.
Users panic as Google Mail goes down - News - PC Authority
Google's Gmail service was down on Tuesday morning, leaving many users with no access to their email, calendar or contact information..

Users of micro-blogging site Twitter complained that they could not load the site.

One Gmail user wrote on Twitter: "Seriously Gmail...I had some things to do this morning with you. You let me down. Hard."

Others talked of having to revert back to Lotus notes and other email accounts, while offline Gmail users celebrated still having access.

Meanwhile, Microsoft used the opportunity to poach users from its rival. " Need a new email account? Take a look at - awesome!", twittered Mel Carson, Microsoft's advertising community blogger.

Google said that it is working on the problem, and has not yet determined the cause. A statement is due shortly.

A running script of problems Twitter users are having with their Google accounts can be seen here.
Internode FTTH speed offensive in greenfield estates - Internet - iTnews Australia
Internode will deliver 100Mbps retail fibre-to-the-home services over the OptiComm network to around a dozen 'greenfield' suburbs nationwide.

The ISP said it would partner with OptiComm to offer the services in Fernbrooke estate, which is located 32km southwest of the Brisbane CBD, and at the Lochiel Park and Northgate developments in South Australia, among others.

Fernbrooke comprises approximately 1,000 homes in the development.

Internode said it would offer FTTH services at 25, 50 and 100 megabits per second.

The plans start at plans $49.95 a month for 25Mbps downstream speeds and a five gigabyte download quota.
New Zealand's terrible copyright law suspended, may be dead - Boing Boing
treet demonstrations, netwide campaigns, unfavorable press attention and sustained lobbying have moved the New Zealand government to temporarily suspend its new copyright law, which would have required ISPs to terminate their customers' net access on the basis of three unsubstantiated accusations of infringement.

It remains to be seen whether the law is truly dead,
On the demise of books, newspapers, music and movies - Boing Boing
Information Week's Internet Evolution's just published Cory Doctorow's article, "Media-Morphosis: How the Internet Will Devour, Transform, or Destroy Your Favorite Medium" -- a noodle on the factors that led to the demise of newspapers, the transformation of music, and the potential destruction of big budget movies and mass-market publishing (and what can be done about the last one):

Big-budget movies (BBMs) require a lot of capital and rely on studios controlling the rate and nature of distribution of the finished product. If you're going to recoup your $300 million box-office turd, you need to move a hell of a lot of DVDs, TV licenses, foreign exhibition, Happy Meal toys, and assorted "secondary" revenues.

Let's be realistic here: Nothing anyone does is going to make it harder to get movies when you want them, where you want them, and at whatever price you feel you should pay for them (including free). And the harder you crack down on Internet movie-downloading, the more attractive you make buying pirate DVDs from criminals on the street -- a virtually zero-risk transaction that directly displaces DVD purchases.
Application lets Mac users save audio from Flash files - Ars Technica
DRM and content protection schemes don't always last very long these days, as enterprising individuals tend to find ways pretty quickly to get past the protection and get to the juicy nugget of content in the center. The latest content nuggets up for grabs are the wealth of music videos available on YouTube. MakeUseOf has the details of an application called iExtractMP3, which allows users to pull the audio from Flash files like those found on many sites.

YouTube already includes functionality that lets you buy the music found in certain videos, but some people just aren't willing to shell out the cash. YouTube and most other sites also have their content in FLV (Flash Video) format, and as you might expect, these files contain both video and audio information. FLV files can also be downloaded without a lot of effort, after which iExtractMP3 takes over. The software splits the audio and video tracks in FLV files, and saves the audio track separately. The application doesn't actually transcode the audio, meaning that there's no change of quality. This can be both good and bad, given the audio quality of some YouTube files.
OmniWeb and three other Omni apps set free, as in beer - Ars Technica
The Omni Group, those loveable guys behind OmniWeb, has announced that it's setting free four of its previously for-pay Mac applications. As of today, OmniDazzle, OmniDiskSweeper, OmniObjectMeter, and, of course, the Mac web browser with a cult-like following, OmniWeb, are now free to the public, fully-functioning and sans license.
Safari 4 how-to: Top Sites Browser in a nutshell - Ars Technica
Safari 4's Top Sites Browser probably represents its splashiest and most appealing new feature. The browser offers a visual wall of your most frequently visited Web addresses, with a thumbnail preview of each site. Just click on any item to jump to the page in question. But there's a lot more to your Top Sites wall than first appears. Here's a quick run-down of the Top Sites browser and how you can get the most from this new Safari 4 feature.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Byte Into It - 18 Feb 09

Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 "Lenny" adds support for Marvell's Orion platform
which is used in many storage devices. Supported storage devices include
the QNAP Turbo Station series, HP Media Vault mv2120, and Buffalo Kurobox
Pro. Additionally, "Lenny" now supports several Netbooks, in particular
the Eee PC by Asus. "Lenny" also contains the build tools for Emdebian
which allow Debian source packages to be cross-built and shrunk to suit
embedded ARM systems.

Debian GNU/Linux 5.0 "Lenny" includes the new ARM EABI port, "armel".
This new port provides a more efficient use of both modern and future ARM
processors. As a result, the old ARM port (arm) has now been deprecated.

This release includes numerous updated software packages, such as the K
Desktop Environment 3.5.10 (KDE), an updated version of the GNOME desktop
environment 2.22.2, the Xfce 4.4.2 desktop environment, LXDE, the
GNUstep desktop 7.3, X.Org 7.3, 2.4.1, GIMP 2.4.7,
Iceweasel 3.0.6 (an unbranded version of Mozilla Firefox), Icedove (an unbranded version of Mozilla Thunderbird), PostgreSQL 8.3.6,
MySQL 5.0.51a, GNU Compiler Collection 4.3.2, Linux kernel
version 2.6.26, Apache 2.2.9, Samba 3.2.5, Python 2.5.2 and 2.4.6, Perl
5.10.0, PHP 5.2.6, Asterisk, Emacs 22, Inkscape 0.46, Nagios
3.06, Xen Hypervisor 3.2.1 (dom0 as well as domU support), OpenJDK 6b11,
and more than 23,000 other ready-to-use software packages (built from
over 12,000 source packages).

With the integration of X.Org 7.3 the X server autoconfigures itself with
most hardware. Newly introduced packages allow the full support of NTFS
filesystems and the use of most multimedia keys out of the box. Support
for Adobe(R) Flash(R) format files is available via the swfdec or Gnash
plugins. Overall improvements for notebooks have been introduced, such
as out of the box support of CPU frequency scaling. For leisure time
several new games have been added, including puzzle games as well as
first-person shooters. Also notable is the introduction of "goplay", a
graphical games browser offering filters, search, screenshots and
descriptions for games in Debian.

Mozilla Labs Introduces Bespin For Collaborative Coding -- Open Source Developers

Mozilla Labs on Thursday released a technology preview of a new browser-based collaborative code editor called Bespin. Mozilla's focus on the Web as a platform echoes Google's focus on data as the foundation of its business. Just as the creation of new content increases the need for Google's search service, the expansion of what can be done on the Web makes browsers like Mozilla's Firefox more essential.

Bespin is being released as a 0.1 project and is decidedly alpha code, with bugs aplenty. It's being released in a primitive state to get user feedback and to encourage community participation in the development process.

Like any good code editor, Bespin includes text-editing capabilities and productivity enhancements like syntax highlighting, importing and exporting, large file size support, undo and redo, and browser previews. Its main focus at the moment is performance, meaning that it can handle tens of thousands of lines of code without scrolling or typing slowdowns.

Windows 7 Vs. Linux: The Battle For Your Desktop -- operating systems -- InformationWeek

There's fierce debate in the air about what 7 means for both Windows and Linux. Microsoft's last gasp? Linux's formidable new enemy? Closer inspection shows us it's not really either of those things. Linux has made strides of its own on the desktop and made it possible to build netbooks at low cost--and while Windows 7 will almost certainly take a bite out of that market and impress existing Windows users all the more, Linux has also become its own animal.

In this article I'm going to look at how Windows 7 and desktop breeds of Linux shape up against each other, mainly in the light of what's come before on both sides. This is not a formal review. In the first place, Windows 7 won't be released until the end of the year. Secondly, the goal here is not to award either Windows 7 or Linux top ranking. This is an exercise in which the two are compared side by side, to see what each one does in particular categories and why.

9 Dirty Tricks: Social Engineers' Favorite Pick-Up Lines - Network World

What the average guy might call a con is known in the security world as social engineering. Social engineering is the criminal art of scamming a person into doing something or divulging sensitive information. These days, there are thousands of ways for con artists to pull off their tricks (See: Social Engineering: Eight Common Tactics). Here we look at some of the most common lines these people are using to fool their victims..

Telstra's 21Mbps plan to lure you to wireless - News - PC Authority

The first 21Mbps modems (the Telstra Turbo 21) will be available for Next G business customers on February 23, but everyone else gets to join the fun in April. No, there's no pricing yet, and yes, we're expecting it to be pants wettingly expensive.

But that's not the point. The move to 21Mbps is so far ahead of wireless speeds we've seen so far, that for the first time mobile broadband is starting to look less like the flaky cousin of ADSL, than the future (well, perhaps not for gaming).

The important factor will be real life download speeds - Telstra is predicting you'll see anywhere up to 8Mbps. Telstra's current 7.2Mbps network performs well compared to the competition - it was the fastest in our mobile broadband group test, with downloads averaging more than 4Mbps.

Telstra's 21Mbps network - is actually 1Mbps for uploads - News - PC Authority

the new 21Mbps modems are rated at 1.9Mbps uplink speeds.

And you're not likely to hit 1.9Mbps, with Telstra saying typical upload speeds average 300kbps to 1Mbps, bursting to 1.3Mbps. If you're sending a lot of data on the road as well as receiving, especially if it's for business, then it's worth keeping this in mind.

The good news is Telstra says peak uplink speeds will increase in 2009 to 5.8Mbps, which is better than what many people get now in terms of average download speeds.

Other things you should know:

* Not everyone gets the full speed at first - selected metro and regional areas get the full speeds (up to 8Mbps typical downloads), while up to 3Mbps elsewhere. "But it is coming to the bush," David Thodey, Telstra's Group Managing Director Enterprise and Government, said today.
* The new 21mbps speeds will be available to Next G business users on February 23, and consumers in April
* NetComm is also planning 3G devices compatible with Telstra's 21Mbps wireless
* Speeds will eventually increase to 42Mbps, and in the longer term, other vendors are talking 100Mbps+
* Upload speeds of 5.8Mbps are planned, but for the moment, typical upload speeds are in the range of 300kbps to 1Mbps
* No Mac compatibility for Telstra's Mobile Broadband Turbo 21 Modem and BigPond Wireless Broadband 21 USB Modem
* The Turbo 21 USB modem will cost $299 with a 24 month $39 data pack. For BigPond customers, the new BigPond 21 USB Mobile Card will cost $399 with a 12 month plan.
* Telstra tells us 21Mbps smartphones won't be available for three or four months

Mobile industry agrees on standard charger - News - PC Authority

The GSM Association (GSMA) has revealed that the majority of mobile manufacturers and operators have agreed on a standard energy efficient Universal Charging Solution (UCS) to power all future devices.

GSMA chief executive Rob Conway said during the opening keynote of Mobile World Congress in Barcelona that 17 leading operators and manufacturers had reached an agreement on Friday to adopt a common format for energy efficient mobile phone connections and chargers.

In what has been described as an unprecedented display of unity, the agreement on a specification is expected to cut standby energy consumption in half, and eliminate up to 51,000 tonnes of duplicate chargers.

By 1 January 2012 the majority of all new mobile phones will support a universal charging connector based on micro-USB, and the majority of new chargers will meet the high-efficiency targets set out by the Open Mobile Terminal Platform.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Byte Into It - 11 Feb 09

Apple takes 10 per cent of operating system market - News - PC Authority
now has more than 10 per cent of the operating system market, according
to data from market research firm Net Applications.

share grew to 9.93 per cent in January, as Windows fell to 88.26 per
cent. In addition, the iPhone operating system was used by 0.48 per
cent of users.

Net Applications reported strong interest in
Windows 7, meanwhile, which Microsoft released as a beta on 9 January.
The beta was so popular that Microsoft had to suspend its usual
download limits on the software.

"This is an indication of
strong interest in Windows 7, since it does not come pre-installed on a
computer, like Vista," said Net Applications.

"Beta users are
taking the time and effort to install it on their home computers, since
corporations generally prohibit beta operating systems in production

The Net Applications data was not such good news
for Linux distributions, however. Fewer than one per cent of computer
users have Linux installed, despite an upturn with the growth of the
netbook market.

New Ubuntu OS debuts on HP Mini 1000 Mi Netbook - News - PC Authority
has crossed over into the netbook space and has debuted on the HP Mini
1000 Mi. And strangely enough, it weighs less than the same Windows

Looking at the HP Mini website, we can confirm that
Ubuntu has found its way over into the expanding netbook space. But not
just any Ubuntu interface it seems, but one that appears to have been
custom designed for the HP Mini 1000 Mi netbook.

the awkwardly named HP Mini 1000 Mi may leave some Australian readers
scratching their heads, and that's understandable considering this
particular netbook model hasn't even arrived on Australian shores yet.

specs based on the 1000 "Mini" Mi (get it?) appear to be identical to
the recently released Aussie HP Mini 1000, except for a couple of
unique changes: weight and price.

The following specs apply for both versions of the Mini 1000:

* Sleek design (less than 1" profile)
* 10.2" screen
* Intel Atom processor
* 3 cell battery
* 60GB HD or 16SD

Odd Specs:
US HP website reveals the Mini 1000 Mi weight starts at 1.03kg with
Ubuntu (depending on configuration). The Mini 1000 XP model starts from
1.11kg, meaning that either the new Mi has been redesigned to be a
touch lighter or that Windows is truly the heaviest OS in the world.
Some might argue for the latter.

In addition to this, for all
the costs of a Microsoft licence, HP will charge just $US20 more than
the Mini 1000 XP version. Not too shabby for the Linux option.

Social media lights up as Victorian bushfires rage - web - Technology
As the worst bushfires in Australia's history raged across Victoria,
Twitter, Flickr and Facebook lit up with condolences and horrific
first-hand accounts, while many used innovative online mapping tools to
assess the risk of the fires reaching their own homes.

Mainstream news outlets, battling to provide comprehensive coverage of the
tragedy, have incorporated accounts published on the social networking
sites extensively in their reports.

Using online social media to spread vital information and personal stories is becoming increasingly commonplace in times of crisis, but this may be the first time the social networking sites have been used extensively during an Australian

Google's engineers have created a map containing the latest up-to-date information about fire locations and their status,
based on data provided by Victoria's Country Fire Authority (CFA).

The map, updated in real-time with information about the number, type and
size of fires in a particular location, buckled as thousands of web
users sought out updates. But the site appeared to be working as normal
this morning.

Google created the map after the CFA's website
struggled to cope with the surge in people looking for information
about the fires.

"We hope that it's of some use to people who
may be affected, to emergency services personnel, and that it takes
some load off other websites which are being inundated," Google wrote
in a blog post. created its own map of the fire
locations - derived from data provided by Federal Government body
Geoscience Australia through its Sentinel national bushfire monitoring
system - before Google but also reported slowdowns due to high demand.

On Twitter, "bushfires" is as of this morning the No.1 "trending topic" as
users traded first-hand accounts, news, and information on how to
donate and seek help.

bushfires - Twitter Search
Buy 5 SitePoint books for price of 1 and EVERY DOLLAR goes to victims of the Aus #bushfires:

(21) bushfires - Twitter Search
RT Free legal help line for people affected by bushfires 1800 113 432

Twitter / 774melbourne
774 ABC Hotline for those offering material help to people affected by bushfires 03 9626 1752

HTC Dream takes on iPhone, Windows Mobile - News - PC Authority
took the wraps off its HTC Dream today, marking the debut of the first
phone powered by Google's Android operating system in Australia.

and Google were asked what would make people line up outside an Optus
store for the HTC Dream, and to be honest we didn't find their answer
particularly compelling: something about the Dream being an "online
phone", and the next evolution in mobile Internet "experience".

That's not to say it isn't a promising device - the interface, physical design, are looking very good

Much has already been said about the Google Android, and in a nutshell there are several reasons the Dream is worth a look:

* Extended Home screen - smartphone interfaces (Windows Mobile, we're
looking at you) have a habit of being way too awkward and intimidating
to navigate. HTC's Dream presents a simple to use home screen, with
multiple pages. Swipe your finger to drag open a new screen.
Touchscreen and keyboard - unlike the iPhone, this is a touchscreen
phone with a QWERTY keyboard. It's physically thicker than an iPhone,
but if Blackberry-type functionality is what you're after, the keyboard
will certainly help.
* Google - the HTC Dream has Google apps like Google Talk, Gmail, Google Maps, Youtube and others built-in.

* Offline Gmail - Google Gmail became an even more enticing proposition
for business owners and home users when Offline Gmail arrived recently.

* Apps - there's apparently hundreds of apps available for Google
Android phones, though time will tell whether these will be as useful
as those on Apple's iPhone App Store.

The phone is only
available via Optus from February 16. Optus Post-Paid customers can buy
the Dream on four plans, starting from $59 (plus handset costs). We're
told data plans from 500MB to 3GB are in the works. Great news, though
we'll be keen to see other carriers come on board.

Vodafone and 3 to merge Australian operations - BizTech - Technology
Mobile phone operators Vodafone Australia Ltd and Hutchison Telecommunications (Aust) Ltd have agreed to merge their businesses in Australia.

Each company will own 50 per cent of the joint venture, VHA Ltd.

VHA will market its products and services under the existing Vodafone brand, and retain the exclusive rights to the 3 brand, which is owned by Hutchison.

Amazon Kindle 2 gets official - News - PC Authority
PC Authority > News > Amazon Kindle 2 gets official
Amazon Kindle 2 gets official
Amazon Kindle 2 gets official
by on Feb 10, 2009
Tags: Amazon | Kindle
Sequel to best–selling eReader announced in New York – and the Kindle 2 is thinner than an iPhone.

Amazon hasn't exactly done a good job of keeping its new eReader, the Kindle 2, under lock and key. Pics of the sequel to the best selling gadget have been plastered all over the web, with plenty of chat about cool new features that'd finally bring an end to those pesky paperbacks for good.

Well, at last, the bookish types have come clean, officially unveiling the Kindle 2 in New York. And it really does look like a leap in the right direction. Gone is the clunky design, replaced by something a lot slicker and thinner than an iPhone at just 0.36in.

They're also promising two weeks reading on a single charge, wireless delivery of papers and mags straight to the device, plus text to speech, so you can listen to your latest Mills and Boon novel when your eyes get tired. You'll be able to shoehorn more on there too, with seven times extra space. Even better if you're off on a schlep around the globe

r2 Studios - Software
When Windows loads it's Startup file, it attempts to load every program in there at the same time. Therefore if you have quite a lot of programs starting when Windows starts, each program will try and grab CPU time so that it can load.

If each program tries to do this at the same time, you soon notice the slow down that occurs, due to your CPU trying to help all the programs to load, and your hard disk accessing multiple files.

Startup Delayer allows you to setup how many seconds after Windows has started, to load each program.

Mozilla Labs » Blog Archive » Introducing Ubiquity
Ubiquity, a Mozilla Labs experiment into connecting the Web with language in an attempt to find new user interfaces that could make it possible for everyone to do common Web tasks more quickly and easily.

The overall goals of Ubiquity are to explore how best to:

* Empower users to control the web browser with language-based instructions. (With search, users type what they want to find. With Ubiquity, they type what they want to do.)
* Enable on-demand, user-generated mashups with existing open Web APIs. (In other words, allowing everyone–not just Web developers–to remix the Web so it fits their needs, no matter what page they are on, or what they are doing.)
* Use Trust networks and social constructs to balance security with ease of extensibility.
* Extend the browser functionality easily.

Foxmarks bookmark syncing service comes to Safari - Ars Technica
synchronizing your bookmarks. One way to do that is with Foxmarks, a free bookmark backup synchronization tool that was recently rolled out for Safari.

Foxmarks works a bit like a cloud computing service for bookmarks, since it provides both bookmark syncing and bookmark backup functions. Foxmarks will also let you view your bookmarks on the Web and on mobile devices like an iPhone or a BlackBerry. The service also allows users to share bookmarks with others, as well as maintain various bookmark "profiles" for different locations or computers. It will even let you sync passwords if you're using Firefox 3.

Speaking of browser versions, Foxmarks works with Firefox and Safari (although Leopard is required), but it's also available for Internet Explorer if you'd like to keep track of your bookmarks at work, or if you're a masochist. Additionally, the Windows version of Safari and Google Chrome are both on the list of browsers that will be supported soon. Best of all, Foxmarks is free

Google turns on Exchange for iPhone and Windows Mobile users - Ars Technica
its productivity war on Apple, Microsoft, and everyone in between,
Google on Monday enabled Exchange support for iPhone and Windows Mobile
device owners. This is in addition to Google's existing tool for
BlackBerry phones, but the company is also including contact sync
support for other phones via the standard SyncML protocol.

under the product umbrella of Google Sync, Gmail contacts and Google
Calendar events can now be synchronized via over-the-air (OTA) push
between Windows Mobile devices and both first- and second-generation
iPhones (note, however, that iPhone OS 2.2 is required). Configuration
for these devices is performed via their respective, built-in
ActiveSync and Exchange configuration features, respectively, though
Google Sync strangely does not support push e-mail for these devices
yet. Microsoft says that Google licensed the Exchange ActiveSync, and
these features are available for free today for both general consumers
and, for once, Google Apps users at the same time.

Tips for returning students & people wanting to buy a cheap mac:

• Students get an automatic discount from Apple and should look for
deals that include free or discounted software, bags, printers, ipods
and so on.

• Apple has an academic/student section for it's Australian store:

• Apple also have a Back To Uni includes a $179 rebate :

• Some resellers have campus stores:

Computers Now - RMIT (City Campus) & Monash Uni (Clayton Campus) :

Next Byte - Melbourne Uni (Parkville Campus) & Latrobe Uni (Bundoora Campus) :

• Seriously think about AppleCare:

• Also think about laptop insurance - but read the policies and be clear on what you are and are not covered for.

• Be caution of Rent Smart and other hire/purchase finance - you
will pay a lot more for that computer in the long run, if it breaks or
gets stolen - you still have to pay out the loan. Look for a student
loan from your Student Union or Bank if you need the money to buy.

• Apple have refurbished machines available also. These machines
may be new machines that have had problems and have been fixed and
ex-demo machines. A word of caution these machines can be prone to more
issues, but you are covered by a warranty. You are also eligible for
AppleCare. Thanks to Jonathan from Xero (Elgin Street, Carlton).

• Apple refurbished page:

• Check the Apple product cycle using the MacRumors Buyers Guide.
When new machines are released, old ones get discounted to clear stock.
Also check this so you don't get caught when buying a new machine only
to have it updates shortly after.

• Companies like New Wave Systems offer trade-in deals. See link below

• Resellers also have refurbished machines, clearance items & specials:

Computers Now - clearance:

Designwyse -

New Wave Systems (2nd hand Mac specialists) -

Next Byte - refurbs:

Next Byte - clearance:

Palaeographics - clearance:

Palaeographics - auctions:

Streetwise - specials:

• Other resellers to check out:

Xero - Elgin Street, Carlton (close to Melbourne Uni & Collingwood TAFE) :

Beyond The Box - Puckle Street, Moonee Ponds :

• Training:

CAE - Flinders Lane

March Course:

April Course:

Tequp -

Apple Retail Store - Chadstone: (Youth Programs, Genius Bar, Workshops, One to One)

MacAdvice - Ross House, Flinders Lane

Computers Now:


Beyond The Box:


Apologies to those resellers that I may have missed or not included
some of your services! Please contact me with info via and I'll up-date the info for you.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Byte Into It - 04 Feb 09

Belkin fake reviews case raises broad questions about peer ratings - Network World
Belkin's admission that an employee has been offering to pay for favorable
Web-based peer reviews of its network gear raises the question of not
only how widespread such practices are but whether they undermine
community and trust in the connections and relationships that the Web
seems to foster so easily.

Lucky schoolkids get 10,000 netbooks - News - PC Authority
Education departments are all in a lather over netbooks, and obviously think they're the best new thing to come along since Décor lunchboxes.A whopping 10,000 Acer and Lenovo netbooks are to land in the laps of kids across 344 schools in Victoria as part of a three year trial. Schools will own the units, which are worth $900 including accessories, but students can take them home.

The netbooks will come with Microsoft Office, Microsoft Student with Encarta Premium and Google Sketchup.

Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac now runs Windows 7 - News - PC Authority
Virtualisation software, Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac, has had a bit of an upgrade, now offering both more CPU and RAM capacity as well as the ability to run Windows 7.The latest updates mean Parallels no longer lags embarrassingly far behind VMware Fusion, or Sun's free VirtualBox for OS X in the race to virtually win over Apple hardware users.

Running Parallels for Mac requires a minimum of an Intel Core Duo, 1.66GHz processor and can use to eight CPU cores and a maximum of 8 GB of RAM, or 256 MB of RAM on the video adapter.

Parallels has also bunged security tools from Kaspersky Labs into its new Parallels Desktop 4.0 for Mac, with the first year of the subscription covered by the cost of the Parallels license. The package also includes data management and back up tools from Acronis, free of charge.

Apple righting iTunes Plus upgrade snafus - Ars Technica
Last week, Apple introduced a more flexible iTunes Plus upgrade policy. Users can now choose which tracks and albums they want to upgrade, rather than having to upgrade an entire library at once. Now, you can upgrade all the songs you really want to keep and skip the othersUnfortunately, some of these upgrades aren't going as smoothly as one might hope. It turns out that some customers were being charged $9.99 for their three-dollar album upgrades; i.e. they were charged the full album price rather than the upgrade amount. If you were affected by the pricing glitch, we suggest that you contact Apple. Go to your purchase history by signing into your account and then click Report a Problem.

Apple has apparently been quite responsive to these reports and reimbursements are being processed back to the purchasers. Christopher Breen at Macworld was issued five courtesy song credits in addition to the amount of the error, for example.

Déjà vu all over again: Apple patent hints at tablet - Ars Technica
Apple has filed yet another patent that describes yet another tablet-like device. The latest patent application, which was published in January, is really for a "Display Housing for Computing Device" and largely describes ways to design an external housing for a display. However, one part of the patent describes a housing for an actual computer, once again spurring speculation that Apple is planning a Mac tablet

10 Things That WON'T Happen in 2009 - Network World
1. Organizations will pay greater attention to security And pigs will fly! In spite of a series of security breaches in 2008 and increased awareness on the need to secure data, organizations will not heed the warning signs any more than they did in 2008. The 'it won't happen to me' syndrome will strike again and thousands of records will be put at risk

BBC NEWS | Technology | Google Earth dives under the sea
Google has lifted the lid on its first major upgrade to its global mapping software, Google Earth.Google Ocean expands this map to include large swathes of the ocean floor and abyssal plain.

Users can dive beneath a dynamic water surface to explore the 3D sea floor terrain.

map also includes 20 content layers, containing information from the
world's leading scientists, researchers, and ocean explorers.

Gore was at the launch event in San Francisco which, Google hopes, will
take its mapping software a step closer to total coverage of the entire

Microsoft reveals five Windows 7 versions - News - PC Authority
Choosing your Windows 7 version will be far easier than for Vista, but XP users will have to do a full install.One
of the most confusing aspects of Vista’s release was that it came in
six product versions, without clear information differentiating between
them. It meant that the high-end Vista products looked too expensive
for what they offered, and for anyone looking to upgrade from XP, the
choice was bewildering.

Microsoft is set to continue with
multiple versions in Windows 7, opting for five versions: Windows 7
Starter, Home Premium, Professional, Enterprise and Ultimate form the
full range. A version of Home Basic will only be available in emerging
markets, sold on new computers.

Most new computers sold in
Australia, once Windows 7 has launched, will come with either Home
Premium or Business. Netbooks will likely carry Windows 7 Starter or
Home Premium.

Microsoft’s sop to those who found Vista’s range
confusing is to make sure that from Starter up, each version contains
the features of the version before it. So you won’t find that the
Professional or Enterprise versions lack a Media Center that Premium
contains, for example.

In addition, the Windows Anytime Upgrade
function in Windows 7 will allow you to upgrade electronically to a
higher-end product. If you buy Home Premium, and really need Ultimate,
it should be a simple matter of a few clicks and a small amount of
installing to upgrade.

While there will be upgrade versions for
those people currently using Vista, you won’t be able to upgrade from
XP to Windows 7, or from 32-bit Windows to a 64-bit version. In those
cases, you’ll have to perform a clean install, though you will be
eligible for a discounted 'upgrade' version of Windows 7 if you move
from XP.

Microsoft announces 20 editions of Windows 7! (j/k) - Boing Boing Gadgets
if there's an instinct that Microsoft will find hard to put to bed,
it's the one that led to more versions of Vista than can be counted on
one hand. The place is run by a sales guy, after all! Click through for
our exclusive leaked ad covering the 20 separate editions of Windows 7,
straight from our anonymous sauce

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How Harvard Law threw down the gauntlet to the RIAA - Ars Technica
In retrospect, Harvard's eventual involvement was obvious. As far back as 2007, we noted that RIAA prelitigation letters had yet to be sent to Harvard, and one reason for that may have been the quite public opposition of Harvard Law School to the entire RIAA legal campaign.Law professor Charles Nesson and John Palfrey, director of the Berkman Center for Internet & Society (which Nesson co-founded), made their position clear. "Recently, the president of the Recording Industry Association of America, Cary Sherman, wrote to Harvard to challenge the university administration to stop acting as a 'passive conduit' for students downloading music," they wrote in 2007. "We agree. Harvard and the 22 universities to which the RIAA has sent 'pre-litigation notices' ought to take strong, direct action... and tell the RIAA to take a hike."

EFF to judge: Let's webcast the RIAA's lawsuit - Boing Boing
EFF filed a really well-done brief today in support of Professor Nesson and Harvard's Berkman Center and their quest to provide a live webcast of the defense they providing to students against the RIAA.Public.Resource.Org and the Internet Archive have offered to host the video. We've previous worked with the provider here, Courtroom View Network, to put the Nifong disbarment trial on-line (link). All that video is hi-res with no restrictions on re-use.

Media Access Project, Free Press, and the California First Amendment Coalition, and even attorney Ben Sheffner have joined this call to open up the court proceedings.

Sony BMG lawyer takes over as RIAA litigation chief - Ars Technica
Jennifer Pariser, the Sony BMG attorney who testified memorably at the Jammie Thomas file-sharing case in 2007, has just landed a new job at the RIAA. Pariser will become the Senior Vice President of Litigation and Legal Affairs for the music industry trade group, meaning that she will head up the RIAA's new approach to addressing rampant illegal file-sharing.The recording industry recently pledged to abandon its mass lawsuit strategy, hoping instead to address P2P file-sharing through voluntary "graduated response" agreements with ISPs in the US. In her job at Sony BMG, Pariser was actively involved in that lawsuit campaign, one which she admitted in court was losing money for the record labels.

Kiwis get strict copyright, three-strikes law at month's end - Ars Technica
"It is a strange fate we should suffer so much fear and doubt over so small a thing," says Boromir in the recent movie adaptation of the Lord of the Rings. The scene, shot in New Zealand, might pop into the minds of many Kiwis these days, as one tiny legislative change to copyright law is poised to bring "graduated response" (or "three strikes") rules to the country. And disconnection of users isn't just on the table—it's mandatory.

Microsoft: employee stole documents for patent lawsuit - Ars Technica
Microsoft is accusing ex-employee Miki Mullor of using his inside access to download internal documents for a patent complaint that his startup company, Ancora Technologies, has since filed against Dell, HP, and Toshiba. The suit alleges that the companies are infringing on Ancora's patent by selling computers with Windows Vista preactivated, which is possible thanks to one of Microsoft's anti-piracy technologies, System Locked Preinstallation (SLP). When Seattle Tech Report covered this story, the publication noted that Ancora's website described the case as follows:To secure each copy of (Windows), without burdening the honest user, (PC makers) use a technology known as System Locked Pre-Installation (SLP) to protect Windows against piracy. SLP is Ancora's technology and is covered by our pioneer patent, US Patent 6,411,941. This lawsuit is about protecting our patent rights from being infringed by HP, Dell and Toshiba. This is not David vs. Goliath. This is David vs. three Goliaths.

SEC inquiry into Steve Jobs' health may set precedent - Ars Technica
A number of investors raised questions about Steve Jobs' health disclosures when his original quips that he needed "simple and straightforward treatment" became a leave of absence from the company. Those investors would like to know just what Steve Jobs and Apple's directors knew when Jobs made the disclosures, and this sentiment may have prompted a Securities and Exchange Commission investigation. According to Bloomberg, the SEC inquiry may break new ground, since executive health is not normally discussed or disclosed.

Week in tech policy: "First thing, let's kill all the lawyers" edition - Ars Technica
The recording industry is clearly not amused that the target of one of their remaining file-sharing lawsuits has not only decided to fight back, but gotten Harvard law prof Charles Nesson to defend him. While they attempt to persuade an appeals court to prevent a hearing in the case from being webcast, RIAA attorneys are also seeking sanctions against Nesson himself for a variety of alleged procedural errors they say constitute "frivolous legal action." Can you copyright the sound of a thousand Ars readers' irony detectors simultaneously overloading?You've probably seen those seat-belt promoting highway signs that remind you to "Click it or Ticket." Now one congressman wants to apply the same rule to cell phone cameras. Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has introduced legislation that would require device makers to make it impossible to silence the sound a phone makes when a photo is taken, in hopes of deterring the sneaky, geeky, and creepy from engaging in illicit digital voyeurism.

Judge's ruling that WoW bot violates DMCA is troubling - Ars Technica
Blizzard notched another victory in its legal campaign against World of Warcraft bots when a judge on Wednesday ruled that a leading bot violates the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. MDY Industries LLC, the firm that develops and sells the Glider bot, already suffered a major setback last summer when the judge granted Blizzard summary judgment on several key issues. This week's decision deals with the issues the judge believed could not be decided until the conclusion of this month's trial. The judge ruled that Glider violated the DMCA's ban on "circumvention devices," and he also found that MDY's founder, Michael Donnelly, was personally liable for the actions of his firm.As we've noted before, Blizzard's legal arguments, which Judge David G. Campbell largely accepted, could have far-reaching and troubling implications for the software industry. Donnelly is not the most sympathetic defendant, and some users may cheer the demise of a software vendor that helps users break the rules of Blizzard's wildly popular role playing game. But the sweeping language of Judge Campbell's decision, combined with his equally troubling decision last summer, creates a lot of new uncertainty for software vendors seeking to enter software markets dominated by entrenched incumbents and achieve interoperability with legacy platforms.

Electronic Frontiers Australia slams the Great Firewall of Australia - Boing Boing
"Electronic Frontiers Australia vice-chair Colin Jacobs joins the growing chorus of those opposed to the Australian Government's plans for mandatory ISP-level filtering."The Government wants the power to add any page it sees fit to a secret blacklist, yet law enforcement and child-welfare organisations will not benefit at all. Technical obstacles remain intractable. Any eventual scheme will be trivial for children or lawbreakers to circumvent, yet the technology will come at an enormous cost to the taxpayer and will severely impact ISPs' ability to deliver the much-hyped broadband improvements our country needs.

Melbourne Twestival 2009
Entry will be via $5 donation - you can buy tickets now at Amiando or simply pay at the door. Any extra donations are welcome, with all money from every ticket and each donation going straight to charity: water. We’ll have limited free drinks (kindly provided by Zendesk - get there early!), Twitter DJs and the chance to meet other members of the Twitter community in Melbourne, all for a good cause. Spread the word now - follow @MelbTwestival on Twitter, retweet updates and RSVP to the Facebook event.