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03 Jul 07 - Do Not Call scam in operation
FEDERAL Communications and IT Minister Helen Coonan has issued a warning to consumers about scams related to Government’s new Do Not Call Register. Senator Coonan said she had been made aware of scammers who were knocking door to door charging residents up to $79 to have their names added to the free Do Not Call Register.
“Everyone needs to be aware that it is FREE to put your home and mobile number on the Register. The Government has paid for the establishment of the Register, with industry contributing to the running costs,” Senator Coonan said. “With the official start of the Do Not Call Register only days away, it is very disappointing to hear that some unscrupulous scam merchant may be trying to illegally profit from the extremely popular Do Not Call Register,” she said.
“Since the launch of pre-registrations on 3 May, the Do Not Call Register has been extremely popular with over 927,000 numbers being registered already. However it is outrageous that people may be trying to cash-in illegally on the popularity of this great Government initiative.“I urge residents not to hand over money to these scammers but to get as many details as possible from them to help authorities identify the criminals,” Senator Coonan said.
While a very limited amount of calls will be allowed, including those from charities and market research companies, Senator Coonan said evidence shows the Register will greatly reduce the number of unsolicited calls.
03 Jul 07 - Crazy Johns switches to Vodafone
Australian IT, 03/07/07
NUMBER three-ranking mobiles player Vodafone is banking on its landmark retail deal with the 105-store Crazy John's chain to keep its revenue growth above 10 per cent for the financial year to March 31 next year.
The local subsidiary of the world's largest mobile group has 200 branded retail outlets, which are mainly shopping mall and high street outlets. This will increase to 305 under the Crazy John's deal. Vodafone also sells handsets through 150 outlets at Allphones. In addition to Vodafone's products, Allphones sells contract mobile services for Optus and "3" as well as Telstra's pre-paid service.
"We have a really good alignment with Crazy John's," Mr Hewitt, Vodafone CEO said. "We have heavily mystery shopped at Crazy John's as a retailer and they are very, very good."
Melbourne-based Crazy John's strength is in Victoria, where Vodafone's position is weaker than in other east coast states. Ten years after the "deregulation" of the sector, the $11 billion a year mobile market remains the industry's most competitive, with four network players. But mobile operators are continuing to benefit from the decade-long trend of voice calls shifting away from traditional fixed line services to mobiles.
Now, network players and phone makers are increasingly pushing other functions on to mobile handsets, such as video calls and clips, music, news and access to the internet. Yesterday, Crazy John's -- until June 30 Telstra's second biggest dealer -- switched allegiance to Vodafone in a major operation. Crazy John's will adopt a multi-pronged attack on Telstra, selling Vodafone pre-paid and contract services and small business services. It is also launching its own "virtual" Crazy John's branded network. "It's a full retail play. I'm not sure the market has digested what this means," Mr Hewitt said. top
02 Jul 07 - Good news on line rental
Australian IT, 02/07/07
THE competition regulator has slashed the prices Telstra rivals pay to rent its raw copper wires by between 20 per cent and 35 per cent in the latest blow to the giant telco's business. Steep cuts to the cost of renting copper services may spur Telstra to roll out fibre-to-the-node. The move is likely to increase the impetus for Telstra to build a residential fibre-to-the-node network as it attempts to rip up, or sideline, the copper network that enables its competitors to offer rival broadband services.
The ACCC has divided Australia into four regions for the purposes known as Band 1-4. This ranges from inner metropolitan areas in Band 1 to outer rural areas in Band 4. But about 70 per cent of Australians live in the metropolitan Band 2 and the ACCC has dropped the monthly rental price for a copper line, also known as the unbundled local loop (ULL), in Band 2 from $17.70 to as low as $13.80. Last month, Telstra lost an appeal to the Australian Competition Tribunal on the copper pricing. The telco wanted to charge a price of $30 for all copper wires across the country.
It is understood that the ACCC has backdated the price to the 2004 price of $13.30 and allowed for incremental rises over five years to about $14.50. The ACCC is understood to have dropped the price in Band 1 to below $6 and the price in Band 3 from $40 to $27 per month. top
02 Jul 07 - In the name of science?
Sydney Morning Herald, 02/07/07
It took Apple more than six months to build the iPhone but curious gadget fanatics needed only minutes to tear one apart. Within hours of the first iPhones going on sale on Friday, enthusiasts scrambled to be the first to discover what makes the devices tick, posting photos and videos of disassembled phones on the Internet.
The information is more than just academic. Apple keeps a tight grip on information about parts suppliers so "tear downs" of its products are closely watched by investors keen to figure out how to place their bets. In the past, word that a particular part was being used in Apple's popular iPod music players has sent that company's shares higher.
Some dissected the phones with the clinical skill of a surgeon while others resorted to brute force, enraging those swept up in the hype and winning praise from those gleefully resisting it. By Sunday afternoon, a video on YouTube showing two guys banging away at an iPhone with a hammer and nail had garnered 56,000 views and was the 13th most-watched clip on the site.
Ifixit.com, an Apple parts and repair guide site, conducted one of the most sophisticated dismantlings, posting dozens of high-quality photos alongside technical commentary. "They've done some things that are above and beyond. They did some very innovative things," site cofounder Kyle Wiens said of the iPhone's manufacture.
Their efforts yielded a few nuggets of information. The iPhone boasts a main processor and memory chips from Samsung Electronics, an audio-processing chip from Britain's Wolfson Microelectronics Plc and a Wi-fi wireless chip from Marvell Technology. Opening the iPhone was the easy part. For many, the real prize is hacking the phone to get it to do things Apple never intended, such as run on networks other than that of AT&T, the exclusive US service provider. Some programmers also want to find a way to run their own programs directly on the phone's operating system rather than being limited to programs run through the web browser.top
29 Jun 07 - Half the world has a mobile
The world's population is set to hit 6.6 billion next month, and at the same time, mobile phone subscriptions will pass 3.25 billion. The adoption rate as we speak is 1,000 new customers a minute.
John Tysoe, co-founder of The Mobile World, told Reuters that he thinks "the prospect of a fully connected mobile world is becoming ever more real" due to falling prices. Price sensitivity doesn't seem to have affected Europeans, though. Despite the high service cost, there are 666 million subscriptions there, more than 100% penetration. There is no mention whether a certain iphone launch this Friday will affect the numbers.
29 Jun 07 - Heist! $50,000 worth of Mobiles stolen
Two of three men suspected in a $50,000 mobile phone heist have been arrested by Fort Bend County Sheriff’s deputies, and detectives believe a third arrest is eminent. Three armed robbers, whose images were captured on security cameras, walked into a T-Mobile store at 9750 State Highway 6 South, in Atterbury Plaza north of Sugar Land, on June 22.
According to sheriff’s reports, the trio forced employees to open a safe and then made off with about $50,000 worth of mobile phones. Sheriff’s investigators said they believe three suspects are responsible for numerous other robberies at T-Mobile stores in the Houston area. One of the three, identified as John Orlando Tiffany, has turned himself in at the Houston Police Department the day after the robbery. According to a sheriff’s report, he also turned over 36 mobile phones stolen from T-Mobile. A second suspect, identified as Michael Ginete, 21, was arrested Wednesday, a sheriff’s spokeswoman said.
The third suspect has not been arrested, but has been identified as Rohith Somanahalli Viswanath, 19. An arrest warrant on charges of aggravated robbery has been issued for Viswanath, and sheriff’s spokeswoman Terriann Carlson said she’s been told investigators believe they are “getting closer” to making an arrest. Witnesses said the three robbers entered the store last Thursday and began looking at phones. When a store clerk offered assistance, two of the men pulled out guns “and demanded the ‘good’ phones and the camera tapes,” the sheriff’s report said.
The robbers emptied the contents of the safe into black plastic trash bags and left the store. The sheriff’s department estimated the phones’ value at about $50,000. But a T-Mobile employee at a nearby store indicated the stolen phones won’t retain their value. “If the (store owner) is tracking their serial numbers and you make a call on one of their phones, the next day you’ll be getting a call from an investigator,” one employee said.
28 Jun 07 - New boss for AAPT parent
Sydney Morning Herald, 27/07/07
Telecom New Zealand has appointed United Kingdom telco executive Dr Paul Reynolds as chief executive to succeed Theresa Gattung. Dr Reynolds is currently CEO of BT Wholesale, an arm of UK-based telco and IT firm BT Group.
Earlier this month, the outgoing CEO of Telecom, Ms Gattung, said she remained positive about the telco's Australian business despite the poor performance of subsidiary AAPT. Ms Gattung has said Telecom's Australian business had struggled, but added that following the $357 million acquisition of PowerTel, which will be integrated with AAPT, and a company revitalisation, the outlook was good. AAPT Ltd, Australia's third biggest phone company, has weighed heavily on Telecom's balance sheet.
27 Jun 07 - Phone signal saves woman
At around 7:00 this morning, the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s Department received a call from a man who said that his wife had just called him and told him that she accidentally drove off a cliff somewhere off of Sand Canyon Road, a very dangerous and steep mountain road that connects to the 210 freeway.
Because the area is so remote, Sheriff’s deputies’ first move was to contact the woman’s mobile phone provider. They were then able to use the actual mobile signal to get an idea of where to start looking. “Through talks with her phone company we were able to narrow down the search area,” said Sgt. Darren Harris of the Santa Clarita Sheriff’s station.
At that point, all stops were pulled out, as the Sheriff’s department called in their air unit, many ground units, and members of the local search and rescue team. Two ground units were able to locate skid marks on the road, and they called the woman’s mobile phone. Once they established communication with her, they would turn on and off their sirens at various locations asking her when she could hear it. Through that, the air unit was able to pinpoint a precise search location, and spotted the car an estimated 300 feet down a cliff.
As of 1:00pm, the exact condition of the woman is not known.top
27 Jun 07 - 101 hour wait to buy mobile
Sydney Morning Herald, 27/06/07
To claim his 15 minutes of fame, Greg Packer started queueing to be among the first paying customers in the world to own an Apple iPhone a full 101 hours before the much-hyped mobile phone goes on sale on Friday evening. Packer, a retired highway maintenance worker, began his long vigil outside Apple's flagship retail store in New York on Monday morning at 5am. When smh.com.au contacted him on his soon to be discarded mobile phone this morning, Australian time, Packer said he had since been joined by about half a dozen other iPhone fans and opportunists.
Packer, who says he's an Apple fan despite not owning an iPod or a Mac, says he intends to hang on to the phone rather than try selling it for a profit. The 43-year-old from Huntington in New York state, says he is relying on food donations from the public and the bathroom facilities at the Apple Store, which is open 24-hours a day.
Packer - who also is also blogging about his experience - is no novice, having lined up to be among the first to own a PlayStation 3 game console when they went on sale last November. His prize this time will be one of two iPhone models. The one with 4GB memory will retail for $A594 and the one with an 8GB memory will sell for $A713.
But buyers will also have to sign up to a two-year contract mobile phone company AT&T and face a charge of $A208 if they break it. Overnight, AT&T announced that monthly charges would range in price from from $A70 for the most basic plan to just under $A115, making the total cost of a two year commitment to the iPhone at between $A2200 and $A3500.
The Wall Street Journal is reporting that such is the demand for the new phone that even requests from A-list Hollywood stars were being turned down. top
25 Jun 07 - Apple Safari on PC for iPhone
Australian IT, 22/06/07
The decision to make a Windows version of Safari probably has less to do with Windows users and a whole lot to do with Windows developers. Apple is baking Safari into its upcoming iPhone, and a web application that runs in Safari on either Windows or a Mac should also run on the combo mobile phone, iPod and wireless web gadget. It's impossible to tell if interoperability promises will live up to Apple's hype. The mobile phone won't be available until June 29.
Apple also says Safari is twice as fast as IE 7 and 1.6 times faster than Firefox 2. Safari on PCs, in other words, looks and feels just like Safari on Macs. It wants to grow its share of the browser market - currently at about 5 per cent. It thinks that the faster browsing experience offered by the new browser will help it accomplish that goal. The launch of the iPhone probably will have a bigger impact.
25 Jun 07 - Aussie internet pirate gets 4 years
Sydney Morning Herald, 24/06/07
Infamous Australian internet pirate Hew Raymond Griffiths was sentenced to more than four years in a US jail today. Griffiths, who once boasted he would never be caught, was extradited from Australia to the US in February. But the judge took into account almost three years Griffiths had spent in Australian jails while fighting extradition, meaning he will have to serve only 15 months. He was the leader of DrinkOrDie, the world's largest international internet piracy group.
The US government today trumpeted the 51 month sentence handed to Griffiths and issued a warning to other piracy groups it would track down its members and send them to jail. Griffiths, 44, ran the internet ring from his home in Bateau Bay, on the NSW central coast.
He was known by the screen name "Bandido", and as the leader of the international internet criminal group, DrinkOrDie, he was the mastermind behind the illegal reproduction and distribution of more than $US50 million ($A59.11 million) worth of pirated software, movies, games and music. DrinkOrDie was founded in Russia in 1993 and expanded internationally throughout the 1990s.
DrinkOrDie specialised in cracking software codes and distributing the cracked versions over the Internet. Their victims included not only well-known companies such as Microsoft, Adobe, Autodesk, Symantec and Novell, but also smaller companies whose livelihood depended on the sales revenue generated by one or two products. Once cracked, these software versions could be copied, used and distributed without limitation.top
22 Jun 07 - Fine for breaching SPAM Act
The Australian Communications and Media Authority has fined the Pitch Entertainment Group (Pitch) which trades as Splash Mobile in Australia $11,000 for extensive breaches of the Spam Act. This is the largest fine imposed by ACMA to date under the Spam Act. They sent over one million commercial electronic messages to mobile phones without a functional unsubscribe facility.
Pitch and its directors have also entered into an enforceable undertaking that requires future compliance with the Spam Act and contains stringent compliance reporting and staff education obligations. ‘The Spam Act requires every commercial electronic message to have clear and simple instructions on how consumers can opt out of receiving further messages,’ said Chris Chapman, ACMA Chairman. ‘By not including these instructions, Pitch and IMP Mobile made it difficult for consumers to stop unwanted messages, which is simply an unacceptable circumstance.’
With potential penalties of up to $1.1 million per day imposed by the Federal Court for repeat offenders, Mr Chapman emphasised that non-compliance with the Spam Act could prove costly for businesses. Pitch has advised ACMA that since mid-2006 it has included instructions on how to opt out of receiving its commercial electronic messages, and that it took this action when it became aware of being in breach of the Spam Act.
22 Jun 07 - Poll: Worst internet words
Sydney Morning Herald, 21/06/07
"Blog", "netiquette", "cookie" and "wiki" have been voted among the most irritating words spawned by the Internet, according to the results of a poll published on Thursday. Topping the list of words most likely to make web users "wince, shudder or want to bang your head on the keyboard" was folksonomy, a term for a web classification system.top
"Blogosphere", the collective name for blogs or online journals, was second; "blog" itself was third; "netiquette", or internet etiquette, came fourth and "blook", a book based on a blog, was fifth. "Cookie", a file sent to a user's computer after they visit a website, came in ninth, while "wiki", a collaborative website edited by its readers, was tenth.
British pollsters YouGov questioned 2091 adults earlier this month for the poll commissioned by the Lulu Blooker Prize, a literary award for books, which released the results in a statement. Earlier this month, the growing use of words inspired by cyberspace was highlighted when the Collins English Dictionary announced that a string of them would be included in their ninth edition. These included "me-media", a term for personal content websites such as Facebook, and "godcast", a religious service which has been converted to an MP3 format.
The dictionary's compilers monitor the use of English through a 2.5 billion word database of websites, magazines, books, journals, newspapers and broadcast transcripts to help them decide if new words should be included.
21 Jun 07 - Unwired and Austar's broadband solution
Australian IT, 21/06/07
AN agreement between Australia's licensed WiMax providers Unwired and Austar to use different broadband technology from that proposed by the federal Government could throw the $2 billion regional broadband project into chaos. It is understood an agreement between Unwired and Austar insists the 802.16e mobile WiMax technology is used.
Austar has signalled it may move to compete with the Optus-Elders joint venture Opel, using its own WiMax spectrum in regional areas despite missing out on the massive government subsidy. The two companies between them spent close to $300 million on licensed spectrum at the height of the dotcom boom and two years ago undertook a spectrum swap. Unwired took spectrum in the 2.3GHz and 3.5Ghz bands in metropolitan areas and Austar took the same spectrum across the rest of the nation. WiMax works across a number of wavelengths but is subject to interference if it uses unlicensed spectrum in heavily populated areas.
It is understood that a special agreement between Unwired and Austar insists the mobile WiMax technology known as 802.16e be used. This standard is promoted by the world's largest maker of computer chips, Intel, which holds a 35 per cent stake in Unwired and is installing the technology on laptop computer chips from next year.
WiMax using the fixed broadband 802.16d standard is one of two high-speed data technologies being used in the winning bid for regional broadband funding by the Opel consortium. Communications Minister Helen Coonan said yesterday that Opel might have to buy licensed spectrum in some areas. Unwired chief executive David Spence said the company's spectrum would only be used for 802.16e. "It's not every day you have the Prime Minister talking about WiMax," said Mr Spence.top
21 Jun 07 - No time to call?
Sydney Morning Herald, 21/06/07
The eagerly awaited iPhone will be able to play Youtube videos when it ships next week, Apple announced today. About 10,000 Youtube videos will be available for the iPhone's US launch, according to Apple's release. YouTube, a subsidiary of Google, will be recoding the rest of its videos into the H.264 format used by the iPhone within months.
The iPhone will use a relatively slow data network provided in the US by AT&T Inc, and streaming video is likely to tax it. However, the iPhone will also be equipped with Wi-Fi, providing faster speeds in "hotspots". The iPhone, probably the most hyped consumer gadget this year, marries a mobile phone with the music and video-playing capabilities of Apple's hit iPod and features a nine cm touch-sensitive screen. Two models, $A590.50 and $A709, will go on sale in the US on Friday, June 29.
Apple also said Youtube videos are now available on its Apple TV device, a small computer that connects to a TV. Until now, the Apple TV has mainly been able to show videos from the user's iTunes library, and some movie trailers from Apple's site. Apple had previously announced that it was working on adding the feature.