iTWire - iTWire - Latest News iTWire - Technology news, trends, reviews, jobs Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:55:55 +1100 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Intel shakes up McAfee management in Australia Intel shakes up McAfee management in Australia

Intel Security has announced three new executives within its McAfee Australia and New Zealand operations as Intel continues its investment in its Asia Pacific Consumer operations.

When you think of Internet Security in the consumer world, plenty of names come to mind. Norton, Kaspersky, BitDefender, AVG, Trend Micro and also McAfee.

McAfee is one of the oldest names in the bunch, but it just doesn’t do the kind of marketing you see from the biggest operators like Norton and Kaspersky, although you do see McAfee pre-loaded on various brand-name computers.

But perhaps all of this is set to change somewhat (if not dramatically), with Intel powering up its ‘consumer operations’ and people in Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region in its Intel Security division, which operates McAfee.

It will need to as McAfee needs a serious boost in consumer recognition and love to reinvigorate itself after years of assault by all the Internet security companies named above, and others besides.

The new executives include former Symantec executive, Matthew Drake, in the role of A/NZ Consumer Director, another former Symantec exec, David Berthelsen, as A/NZ Business Development Manager and former Gameloft exec, Paul Puech, as Asia Pacific Online Sales Manager at Intel Security.

These announcements follow this year’s earlier appointment of ex-Symantec Consumer Vice President, David Freer.

{loadposition alex08}Intel Security says Matthew Drake joins the North Sydney-based McAfee team, bringing with him an outstanding array of experience, and will ‘take responsibility for all of Intel Security’s routes to market including OEM & ISP partnerships, retail and online operations.’

Over the past nine years, Matthew has led Symantec’s Australia & New Zealand Norton consumer business and has previously held global marketing roles in the US as well as North American consumer and channel marketing responsibilities.

Throughout his career, he has won numerous awards including the CEOs Champion’s Circle, Worldwide Consumer Salesperson of the Year, Worldwide Consumer Sales Leader of the Year, and was recognised in 2014 with the ARN Community Channel Champion award.

Drake said “The past year has well and truly brought global digital security to the forefront of public concern. McAfee is in a very strong position and I’m very much looking forward to building on this and driving further expansion across Australia and New Zealand.”

David Berthelsen was the National Brands Manager for Oceania, leading major projects that developed brands and products for the app based ‘Connected Fitness’ market.

Prior to his most recent role, David was Country Manager for Symantec New Zealand’s Norton business and in addition had account responsibility for some of the largest retail accounts in Australia. He will report into Matthew Drake.

Paul Puech joins from international mobile gaming company Gameloft, where he held numerous senior roles including Country Director Australia and Acquisition Sales for APAC.

Prior to Gameloft, Paul worked across Brand and Product Manager positions at L’Oreal and Unilever.

David Freer, Vice President, Consumer APAC said “We are hugely excited to welcome Matthew, David and Paul to the Intel Security family. All three bring such a broad range of refined experience to Intel Security’s consumer business and are the perfect fit as we continue to drive the Asia Pacific region forward.”

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) People Moves Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:39:48 +1100
Sony PS4 gets ABC iView, Good Game gets ‘Pocket Edition’‘pocket-edition’‘pocket-edition’ Sony PS4 gets ABC iView, Good Game gets ‘Pocket Edition’

The PS4 is finally getting the popular ABC iView ‘video-on-demand’ app, while the Good Game TV show is getting a daily five minute show on iView, too - and an Xbox One version is coming in 2015!

Finally, some good news for Sony at large in the midst of the Sony movie division’s hacking scandal with the release of the ABC’s highly popular iView app.

Dubbed ‘iView for PS4’, it precedes an upcoming updated version of iView for PS3 by several weeks, which first arrived on PS3 way back in 2009.

Promising a ‘cinematic and easily navigable bog-screen interface’, the ABC’s Head of TV Strategy and Digital Products, Rebecca Heap said: “In 2014 ABC iview was the number one internet TV service in Australia with more than 20 million plays per month and a 29% year on year increase in weekly program plays. We are delighted to be launching ABC iview on PS4 and will continue to be the home of Australian stories for our audience on all their screens with the best user experience.”

Sony Computer Entertainment Australia MD, Michael Ephraim said, “PlayStation and ABC iview have enjoyed a long relationship since the service debuted on home consoles with PlayStation 3 as the inaugural platform in 2009. We are thrilled to expand our suite of platforms that offer the extensive stellar range of ABC viewing to our PS4 audience.”

Sony has also announced that a huge range of other video on demand services are also available on PS4 and PS3, besides ABC iView, including Plus7, Quickflix, SBS On Demand, Foxtel Play, YouTube (PS4 only), Mubi, Plex (PS4 only), Dailymotion (PS4 only), Gamereactor (PS4 only), IGN for PlayStation, Qello HD Concerts (PS4 only), Vidzone (PS4 & PS3) and WWE.

But that’s not all the good news from the ABC today, with its massively popular Good Game TV show set to come to iView as a ‘pocket edition’, which means a daily 5 minute episode.

Good Game bills itself as a show ‘for gamers by gamers’, and will ‘feature up-to-the-minute gaming news in a five minute program’ set to ‘encourage and respond to viewer suggestions through social media platforms.’

{loadposition alex08}The ABC, Australia’s publicly-funded Broadcasting Commission boasts that ‘iview is leading the way in digital first commissions and GOOD GAME POCKET EDITION follows a number of successful digital commissions and iview exclusives in 2014.’

The ABC notes that it ‘continues to break new ground in connected TV development in Australia, having successfully trialled a BBC-built technology which is simplifying TV app development while increasing the reach of iview.’

To add to all of this good news, ABC iView is also planned for release on ‘Xbox One and other connected TV devices’ in early 2015, with the app already available on FreeviewPlus certified devices.

So, you can not only enjoy good games on your PS4, PS3 and Xbox One, but you can either already enjoy ABC iView and its new Good Game show on all those platforms too, or in the Xbox One’s case, will soon be able to!

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Entertainment Thu, 18 Dec 2014 14:16:46 +1100
Market may struggle to meet demand for IT specialist skills Market may struggle to meet demand for IT specialist skills

An expected surge in demand for specialist IT skill sets next year is likely to mean there will be a shortage of appropriately qualified professionals to fill the demand.

According to IT recruiter Greythorn, what it calls ‘new world IT’ is set to dominate in 2015, with cloud computing the number one most in demand skill, as it also was in the 2014 survey of over 3,000 IT Hiring Managers and professionals.

Greythorn’s survey reveals that cloud computing skills are increasing in demand by 13% year-on-year.

Richard Fischer, Managing Director, Greythorn  says that following the trends towards mobile optimisation and the digitisation of business, digital skills will also be highly sought after in 2015, with 26% of respondents seeing this as a key skill set.

{loadposition peter}And, the Greythorn survey also indicates that mobility professionals will also see a rise in opportunities in 2015, with the skill set jumping to the third spot, from not making the top 10 skill sets in 2014.

“We expect to see a significant rise in demand for both digital and mobility professionals in 2015, driven largely by the finance sector, in particular retail banks as they lead the way for mobilisation in Australia,” Fischer says.

“Areas we expect to see increase in demand include UX Consultants, UI Developers, Web Producers, Mobile Developers and Content and Strategy Specialists.”

Fischer says that those looking to acquire these specialists “will need to be prepared to get in early and ensure they have a streamlined recruitment process so as not to lose out on top talent in what will be a highly competitive market.”

Looking to other areas, Fischer says those skilled in Big Data will experience the biggest rise in demand in year on year, with Greythorn’s research showing Big Data has risen from being the fifth most in demand skill in 2014 to the second in 2015.

And, although security is still in the top 10, Greythorn says it has dropped five places to ninth for 2015, making way for the rising demand in other areas.

Here’s Greythorn’s top 10 skills in demand, comparing this year with 2015:


1.    Cloud computing

2.    BI

3.    Project Management

4.    Security

5.    Sift Skills

6.    Business Analyst

7.    Information/Knowledge Management

8.    Programming

9.    Storage & Visual Specialists


1.    Cloud computing

2.    Big Data

3.    Mobility

4.    BI

5.    Project Management

6.    Soft Skills

7.    Business Analyst

8.    Digital

9.    Security

10.    Information/Knowledge Management

]]> (Peter Dinham) Enterprise Staff Thu, 18 Dec 2014 13:10:12 +1100
IBM and Equinix confirm cloud deal IBM and Equinix confirm cloud deal

IBM will team with data centre provider Equinix on a range of cloud computing initiatives.

The two companies have formally announced an agreement to provide direct access to cloud services from IBM’s SoftLayer cloud subsidiary from Equinix data centres around the world, including Sydney. News of the deal had leaked earlier in the week.

Equinix also announced enhancements to its Cloud Exchange, including API functionality that it says will make it easier for service providers to use a single interface to the Cloud Exchange, “resulting in scalable, private and secure connections to their cloud services with near real-time provisioning.”

No value was put on the deal, but it is a major development for both companies. IBM will use Equinix data centres to accelerate its growing cloud strategy. The deal will bring the total number of IBM cloud sites to 48, and double its global footprint since it bought cloud specialist Softlayer, which now operates as a separate subsidiary spearheading Big Blue’s growing cloud strategy, in 2013 for US$1.2 billion.

Big Blue has since spent a further US$1 billion to launch Bluemix, a platform-as-a-service development environment designed to help enterprise and web developers create applications for the growing hybrid cloud market. With the new capacity IBM's cloud marketplace will now deliver over 200 'IBM-as-a-service’ offerings. It booked US$4.4 billion in cloud revenue in 2013, a figure it said it intends to grow 50% to US$7 billion by 2015.

{loadposition graeme}

Equinix and SoftLayer previously partnered to offer customers direct cloud connection inside Equinix International Business Exchange (IBX) data centres via SoftLayer’s Direct Link service, a dedicated network connection.

By extending the partnership to include additional secure and dynamic connections through Cloud Exchange, IBM says SoftLayer will be able to “provide its customers with the ability to easily move production workloads in and out of the cloud, thus better enabling them to fully realise their hybrid cloud strategies.”

The Equinix Cloud Exchange is currently available in 17 markets globally, including Sydney, from its SY1 data centre in the suburb of Mascot. It is also available in Amsterdam, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Frankfurt, Hong Kong, London, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Seattle, Silicon Valley, Singapore, Tokyo, Toronto and Washington DC, with expansions planned to Osaka, Sao Paulo and Zurich.

Access to SoftLayer cloud services will be available through the Equinix Cloud Exchange in nine of these markets, including Sydney.

Equinix’s CTO Ihab Tarazi said: “Equinix Cloud Exchange continues to build momentum with secure, low-latency connections to multiple cloud providers, and adding IBM SoftLayer to our growing portfolio will continue to help our enterprise customer realise the benefits of the cloud.

“SoftLayer, with its broad reach into the enterprise market and proven success in networking will be a great asset to Cloud Exchange, enabling customers to seamlessly replicate data between markets. Our direct access capabilities to cloud services such as SoftLayer provide enterprise customer with a choice of multiple clouds to better enable their hybrid cloud strategies.”

 SoftLayer CIO Sonny Fulkerson said: “SoftLayer has maintained a long-standing commitment to providing advanced network capabilities to the enterprise as part of our core service offerings.

“By extending our Direct Link offerings to now include access via the Equinix Cloud Exchange capabilities, we further our goal to improve the flexibility, performance, security and reliability of enterprise connections to SoftLayer.”

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Data Centres Thu, 18 Dec 2014 11:20:06 +1100
'Telstraman' Thodey honoured by iTWire 'Telstraman' Thodey honoured by iTWire

“Look up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No – it’s Telstraman!”

Telstra CEO David Thodey has been reluctantly forced to accept a caricature of himself as ‘Telstra man’, brilliantly executed by iTWire artist Sharon ‘Shazza’ Rowland.

Telstra has held Christmas drinks for members of the press at its newly refurbished Sydney offices. A highlight of the evening was the presentation to CEO David Thodey of the famous ‘Telstraman’ caricature of himself as a superhero, based on Telstra’s outstanding financial performance since he became CEO in 2009.

The drawing was presented to Thodey by iTWire contributor and CommsWire editor Graeme Philipson. It was sketched by the increasingly well-known Shazza, art teacher and sometime iTWire illustrator (and Philipson’s partner).

{loadposition graeme}

“I wish I actually had a body like that,” Thodey said, referring to the muscular ripples on the cartoon character’s torso.

The drawing is one of many Rowland has executed for the iTWire stable. Her illustration of George ‘Metadata’ Brandis as a postman is also a minor blogosphere sensation, as much for its brilliant representation of the Attorney General’s reptilian sneer as for its caption “ we don’t want to know your
address, we just want to know where you live.”

It is believed Thodey was thrilled to be presented with the caricature. “I’m thrilled to be presented with the caricature,” he was heard to say, tucking it under his arm as he left the gathering.

iTWire’s rival publications were not impressed.

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Telecoms & NBN Thu, 18 Dec 2014 06:37:48 +1100
Australians taking more tablets Australians taking more tablets

More than half of adult Australians now use a tablet. A new snapshot report from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) says there are many factors in the massive growth of the devices over the past few years.

Tablet computers have been available in Australia for only four years. In that short time, they have caused significant changes to the way we use communications technologies.

They include the rapid growth in data download demand and the increasing intensity of online participation, the wide availability of Wi-Fi networks, and the mobility offered by tablets themselves, user-friendly operating systems and larger screens for content consumption.

The report, available here, says the most popular tablet activities include communications, general online browsing and research, entertainment, and buying and selling. “Australians are more connected than ever before,” says the report.

“They have a wider choice of devices to access the Internet and are using the Internet to access a wider range of services.

Tablet computers, despite being relatively new, are now established as common devices in Australian households. Half of adult Australians used a tablet to access the Internet in the six months to May 2014.

Most (55%) of tablet owners have tablets that only access the Internet using Wi-Fi. 74% of Internet users who engaged in one or more activities on tablets did so at home. In addition, tablet owners increasingly have more options to use Wi-Fi hot spots while on the move.

While all tablets on the market are Wi-Fi capable, many tablets also offer 3G/4G connectivity. However, only one in six tablet owners have a 3G/4G data plan. A device with 3G/4G connectivity generally is more expensive to purchase and requires a data plan with a mobile service provider to access a 3G/4G mobile network.

Tablets are popular for a range of entertainment, research and general browsing activities, and have a similar use profile to mobile phones and computers. They are less popular than computers for communication (74% used tablets compared to 85% using computers). Banking and finance activities are more popular on mobile phones (49%) and computers (68%) than tablets (38%).

{loadposition graeme}

But tablets are more popular than mobile phones for buying, selling and shopping online (41% used tablets compared with 33% using mobile phones) but less popular than computers (56%) for these activities.

Users report that the biggest attractions for using tablets are their portability (91%) and light weight (88%). The additional product offering of smaller screen tablet devices, such as the iPad mini, further facilitates portability. Another popular reason for using tablets is their ease of use (88%), particularly for users over 55.

Tablets are primarily used at home (96%) and often used simultaneously with other activities such as watching free-to-air television, referred to as ‘dual-screening’. Among those with a tablet in their household, there is a high incidence of their use as the primary online multi-tasking device, with 60% making regular use of this device for dual-screening.

The research shows that 4.3 million Australians use over-the-top (OTT) communications services such as VoIP. Of this group, PCs and laptops (79%) are the most commonly used device to access OTT VOIP services, followed by mobile phones (35%) and tablets (33%).

Increases in television viewing have also been observed over tablet computers. Broadcast television viewing has remained relatively stable over the last five years, however, a growing number of tablet owners are using online services to view television shows or films at a time and place of their choosing to complement their television screen viewing.40% of adult Australian tablet users streamed or downloaded TV shows (e.g., catch-up TV), full-length movies or general video clips (such as YouTube) on their tablet.

Data from the US showed that in 2012, 50% of tablet users watched video or television content on their tablets. The data also indicated that tablet users are much more likely to watch video frequently. Almost 10% of tablet users watched video on their tablets daily and 19% at least once a week.

The ACMA reports says that tablet growth is set to continue. “The global tablet market has undergone considerable growth since tablets were introduced in 2010. This has been driven by the range of online activities consumers conduct via their tablets, such as communications and video viewing.

“IDC reports the market grew 11% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2014, with shipments reaching 49.3 million units. Similar to the Australian market, tablet ownership has increased across the UK and the US.

But the ACMA says that recent research shows that the growth in the table market may be slowing. “IDC notes that tablet market growth had slowed somewhat due to rise of larger screen smartphones (or phablets) and longer than anticipated tablet ownership cycles, and forecasts reduced growth in worldwide sales of tablets (7% in 2014 in comparison with the 53% growth in 2013), with growth to plateau by 2018.

Similarly, in Australia various industry and media reports have indicated a slow-down in the sale of tablets. Telsyte reported a 28% drop in sales of tablets over the first half of 2014. This drop was attributed to factors such as longer upgrade cycles, and Telsyte notes the first half-year retail cycle is traditionally slower. While sales are expected to increase towards the end of 2014, Telsyte forecasts that there will be a net decline in tablet sales in 2014 compared with 2013.”

]]> (Graeme Philipson) Mobility Thu, 18 Dec 2014 06:33:42 +1100
TIO: telco complaints lower than ever but NBN (dis)connection issues a worry TIO: telco complaints lower than ever but NBN (dis)connection issues a worry

Telco complaints down 9.1% from Q2 2014, down 14.6% from Q3 2013, yet 30,359 complaints during Q3 2014 and NBN connection issues remain: Comms Alliance and AMTA respond.

Either people are happier with their telcos and phones, or don’t want to go through the pain of complaining, but whatever the true reason, telco complaints have fallen to the lowest level in 7 years, according to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO)

7 years ago the original iPhone had launched mid-year, 7 years ago Nokia was still king of the hill, 7 years ago Telstra was a lot more annoying and had dramatically worse customer service than it does today and 7 years ago the FTTP NBN was still but a twinkle in Kevin Rudd’s bespectacled eyes.

But 7 years on we have TIO Ombudsman Simon Cohen proclaiming: “I welcome this continuing drop in complaints. It is encouraging to see that one of the biggest issues for the last financial year, excess data charges, is also trending down."

While complaints over slow speeds, coverage issues and mobile broadband excess charges are down, as well look at in a moment, a worrying trend with copper lines being disconnected before a new NBN connection is installed is emerging as a big worry for those affected.

Telcos say they are working hard to get in contact with those who might be affected, but the fact some people have been left with no fixed line connection at all shows the telcos need to work a lot harder.

This is despite the TIO reporting that complaints have decreased in relation to the NBN, although with so few Australians connected to the NBN this may not be too surprising. Even so, the TIO said it had ‘received 1,229 NBN-related new complaints in July-September 2014, with complaints decreasing each month over the quarter.’

But the TIO’s report states that ‘connection issues continued to be the most common problem raised by consumers making a complaint about an NBN service. These included complaints about delays in connecting new landline and internet services and premature disconnection of copper service while a consumer waited for a connection’.

Thankfully, these issues decreased each month in the quarter, but it shouldn’t frankly happen at all - or at least, in my estimation.

The issue of ‘copper services’ being ‘disconnected before the NBN service is connected’ is being dubbed a ‘Continuity problem’ by the TIO. There’s also the startlingly bad issue of copper services being ‘disconnected incorrectly in areas classed as where new copper services are no longer offered (“cease sale” areas), as well as ‘residents of new developments where copper cannot be connected experiencing delays and are not offered alternative services.’

While the TIO says that ‘significantly, these issues have reduced by 50 per cent in July-September 2014 compared to the previous three months,’ you would never want to be in a similar position yourself - which sadly plenty of people have over the years when disconnecting from one ADSL provider to another.

Let’s hope the telcos can rapidly work this one out so complaints to the TIO drop to an absolute minimum, so that MTM stands for ‘multi-technology mix’ rather than ‘multi-technology mess’.

{loadposition alex08}In other NBN stats, the TIO says that ‘consumers raised an issue about a connection delay in 285 new internet complaints and 282 new landline complaints’, which ‘often involved concerns from consumers about repeated rescheduling of connection dates, sometimes without explanation from their service provider. In other cases, consumers complained about not being offered an alternative service by their provider while they waited for their NBN service connection.’

While ‘NBN-related complaints about missed appointments also decreased each month in the quarter’, the TIO nevertheless received ’58 complaints about missed appointments for internet services and 77 complaints about missed appointments for landlines.’

Then let’s get onto other areas the TIO has reported on, as well as the level of complaints for the major carriers - with an infographic from part of the TIO's report at the end of this article.

When it comes to Telstra, it had 13,263 complaints in Q3 2014, a drop of 6.9% compared to Q2 and 0.2% higher than Q3 in 2013.

Vodafone had 6,267 complaints in Q3 2013, a drop of 14.6% from Q2 and down a whopping 29.8% compared to Q3 2013.

Optus clocked in at 3,157 complaints in Q3 2014, a drop of 9.1% over Q2 2014 and down 17% compared to Q3 2013.

Finally, TPG had 1,057 complaints in Q3 2014, a drop of 9.3% over Q2 2014 and 23.8% lower than in Q3 2014. 

Now that we have those figures out of the way, it's back to complaint specifics.

Complaints about excess data charges have fallen by 13.1% compared to the previous quarter, going from 2886 complaints to 2508 - but it’s still ‘the top issue brought to the TIO by mobile users’, with the TIO reporting that ‘the median dispute over excess data charges was $373.’

The TIO says that ‘excess data charges became the top issue that mobile users brought to the TIO in 2013-14, overtaking mobile coverage complaints.’

Unsurprisingly, we are told that ‘the increase in excess data charge complaints came at a time of increased use of data on mobile devices’, and that ‘improvements to handsets and mobile networks, including the rollout of 4G technology, have allowed consumers to download more data, more quickly.’

Here, the Ombudsman ‘supported calls from the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) for parents to watch their children’s mobile and internet use to avoid high excess data charges,’ which is decidedly good advice.

Cohen stated: “Keep an eye on your children’s internet use these holidays, and look out for any usage alerts from your provider. If you do go over you allowance, get in touch with your provider to find out what options are available to you, such as data packs.”

Again, it’s good advice, but if you’re at home, your children’s devices should be connected to your home Wi-Fi anyway. See if there is free Wi-Fi at any holiday destinations you will travel to and remember that if you travel to cities that have free Wi-Fi in CBD areas (or even in shopping centres, cafes or other locations), that any automatic app updates might chew through the often meagre free Wi-Fi data allocations very quickly.

It won’t cost you any money, but if your child’s device is trying to update a lot of apps, or especially a lot of apps with very large updates, that you could find yourself locked out of any free Wi-Fi in CBD areas until a new session is established or until the next day, which may cause your child to turn Wi-Fi off and use the phone or tablet’s SIM-delivered data allocation.

But that’s my advice to you, dear reader, which simply expands upon that from the TIO.

The TIO has also issued its latest issue of TIO Talks, which can be downloaded from the TIO's Publications page (look for TIO Talks Dec 2014 down the page) or directly here as a PDF file

It has much more information on the drop in telco complains, as well as information on a review of the TIO’s fee structure and action by ACMA against two telcos - Planet ISP which had to refund more than $5000 to a consumer whose phone was stolen overseas, and Sure Telecom which had breached the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

So, what does the Communications Alliance have to say about the TIO’s latest report?

It notes that ‘complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman have fallen by 48% in the past 4 years – hitting a new seven-year-low figure in the three months to 30 September this year.’

Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton said this was “further evidence that customer service and complaint-handling excellence had become the new competitive battleground in Australian telecommunications” and added that “Australia’s telecommunications service providers have innovated in many ways, including re-writing their product plans to help customers maximise the value of services, manage their monthly spend and avoid excess-usage charges.

“Customer service has gone through a revolution in pursuit of better customer experience and easier, more satisfying ways to interact with service providers.

“No-one would argue ‘mission-accomplished’ – there is great scope to drive complaint volumes far lower, and industry is on track to do exactly that.

“Measures such as the improved Communications Alliance Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code have helped the trend, but the driver is coming from a genuine top-down commitment among service providers to excel at customer service. It is particularly pleasing to note the 13% drop in complaints related to mobile excess data charges –further evidence of industry’s ability to address ‘of the moment’ issues without compromising focus on the more traditional drivers of complaints.”

Meanwhile, AMTA, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association also heralded the drop in complaints, with its CEO, Chris Althaus noting that “This is a big drop, however, when put in the context of a 97% increase in the volume of data downloaded via mobile handsets in the past year, it is a very good performance on any measure.

“Consumers are becoming more aware and informed about their use of data on mobiles. Their awareness of usage patterns assists them to choose a plan that suits their needs.

“Also, our industry has co-operated in efforts to make consumers more aware of their data usage via alerts, which are issued to customers when they reach 50 per cent, 85 per cent and 100 per cent of their data usage limit to keep them informed so they avoid bill shock.”

On that 97% increase figure, AMTA quotes ACMA figures showing ‘that the volume of data downloaded on mobile handsets had increased from 19,636 TB to 38,734 TB or a 97 per cent increase in the quarter ended June 2014 compared to the same period in 2013.’

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Telecoms & NBN Thu, 18 Dec 2014 01:27:53 +1100
Review: Navman MiVue Digital Drive Recorder Review: Navman MiVue Digital Drive Recorder

Navman has released a range of crash sensitive GPS enabled drive recorders.  The aim is to provide clarity and evidence when it comes to insurance claims for motor accidents.  And with any luck, Australians will be contributing to the oft disturbing, sometimes hilarious pool of YouTube videos along with our Russian driving friends.

“We’ve seen digital drive recorders really take-off in the last two years, that’s why we are really excited to launch this new range that offers a variety of models that include more top-notch abilities and are more generous on features than ever before, “ said Wendy Hammond, Country Manager for Navman Australia.

This range consists of the miVUE 530, 560 and 580 models.  Both the 560 and 680 models sport a 2.5” (6.4cm) touch screen, whilst the 530 has a slightly reduced 2.4” (6.1cm) screen.

Each recorder sports a 130 degree wide angle lens that essentially captures everything outside the windscreen in a continuous 1080p (full HD) resolution.  For the camera buffs, the MiVUE sports a 6 glass-lens with F1.8 aperture, according to Navman this is the best combination for image clarity and ensuring footage is recorded in sharp colour despite the weather conditions.

All models include night vision capabilities with the MiVUE 580 stepping up the low-light capability sporting a Sony Exmor CMOS sensor with the ability to pick out event more detail in the darkness, perfect for those people that do most of their driving during the night hours.

The MiVUE 580 we had for test is a little sparse on out-of-the-box.  Apart from the small recorder device iNavman provide an essential in-car charger, and small windscreen mount.  There is no micro SD card for storage, nor is there a computer USB cable.  

GPS coordinates and speed details are recorded along with the images, and remember by default the MiVUE records sound, so it will capture the colourful words following a vehicle impact, or, as we found out when reviewing video, singing along to the radio can be embarrassing.

The MiVUE uses a 3-axis G-Shock Sensor to detect when a collision has occurred.  When a collision is detected the MiVUE automatically saves a clip of the event.

It is a little tricky to decide what sensitivity to set the sensor to given you don’t usually have the ability to test-crash your car to see.  Our suggestion; set the device to the highest sensitivity and review after the first few drives around town.

Recording will auto start when the car is started and begins to move and when parked the MiVUE automatically goes into Parkling mode, just in case somebody runs into your car while you are in the shops.

Unfortunately, Navman suggest positioning the MiVue behind the rear view mirror, however, with the screen activated the recorder has a little over two hours battery life before requiring a recharge.  This means you are forced to have the device plugged into the 12V auxiliary plug constantly.  This becomes a driving distraction itself possibly making the MiVue crash recorder a self-fulfilling prophecy.

{loadposition mike08}Transferring recorded files into the MiVUE PC desktop manager will give you endless enjoyment managing your clips for YouTube upload, collating evidence for your court appearance or stalking your spouse’s use of your car.

The MiVUE 530 has a RRP of AU $149, the MiVUE 560 has an RRP of AU$179 and the top of the range MiVUE 580 has a RRP of AU$249.

]]> (Mike Bantick) Mobile devices Wed, 17 Dec 2014 20:41:04 +1100
VIDEO: SAP goes Extreme Sailing in Sydney VIDEO: SAP goes Extreme Sailing in Sydney

SAP enhanced the 2014 Extreme Sailing Experience in Sydney earlier this week, with iTWire heading along to interview Rasmus Kostner, Co-Skipper of the SAP Extreme Sailing Team and Milan Cerny, a BI Consultant with SAP Sponsorship Technology.

SAP says it is the ‘market leader in enterprise application software’ and ‘helps companies of all sizes and industries run better’ - which can even include the extreme sport of extreme sailing.

The company says that ‘from back office to boardroom, warehouse to storefront, desktop to mobile device’ - and clearly the deck of an extreme sailboat – it ‘empowers people and organisations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition’ - whether or not they’re on the water.

SAP of course is no minnow or weekend ‘tinnie’ that you catch a few fish from. Indeed, you could think of SAP as the QE2 of the enterprise oceans, with the company boasting its ‘applications and services enable more than 253,500 customers to operate profitably, adapt continuously, and grow sustainably’.

So, with that sop to SAP out of the way, I can say I said effectively said ’sup?’ to the SAP Extreme Sailing Team’s Co-Skipper, Rasmus Kostner, and to Milan Cerny, a BI Consultant with SAP Sponsorship Technology, in a video interview on the racing experience and how SAP’s technology is used in the Extreme Sailing experience - as I sipped on a coffee which I kept well separated from the camera lens.

There’s also a video of Cerny explaining SAP’s technologies in use during the event, and further down is the entire press conference for anyone that is interested in seeing the proceedings.

So, let’s first get to our headline video interview before we go on to look at SAP’s explanation of how its technologies help the sailing series. Then we’ll examine SAP’s media release on its Extreme Sailing sponsorship and at the end, we’ll have the embedded video of the entire media conference.

Now let’s have a look at SAP’s explanation of how its technologies help the Extreme Sailing series - apologies for the slightly shaky video in parts, I had to move around a bit, but it’s there. :-)

So, now for some more detail on SAP’s efforts to enhance the Extreme Sailing Series, which passed its septenary to reach its eight year of the global circuit.

SAP is the ‘Official Technical Partner of the Series and title sponsor of the SAP Extreme Sailing Team’, as says it has ‘continuously improved the experience for fans and equipped sailors to perform at their best.’

This year, SAP says it ‘has been delivering enhanced analysis tools both pre and post-race, providing sailors, media and fans with greater insight into the on-water action than previously available.’

Andrew Barla, SAP A/NZ’s President and MD, said: “SAP is proud to work with the Extreme Sailing Series and the SAP Extreme Sailing Team to help deliver cloud based technology solutions enhancing team performance and simplifying how fans and broadcasters stay engaged in the sport from the shoreline.

“At Act 8 in Sydney we are pleased to demonstrate the power of the SAP Cloud solutions in this exciting venue. This region is integral to SAP’s success and future growth, most importantly a base for innovation, where we work closely with our partners and customers to help them simplify the way they do business and deliver value to their customers.”

{loadposition alex08}

New in 2014 is SAP having enhanced its ‘SAP Sailing Analytics solution with detailed insights into the all-important pre-start phase of races’.

The company says these new analysis options ‘feature key start-line parameters including length, angle to wind, favoured side and advantage, all in real-time. The live leader board displays statistics such as countdown to the start of the race, distance to start line, position where the line has been crossed and start tack.’

We’re also told that ‘the sailors and media are also provided with post-race automated reports based on SAP analytics solutions such as SAP BusinessObjects Explorer software and SAP Crystal Reports offerings as well as the SAP HANA platform to handle the increasing amount of data gathered from sensors on the boats and across the race course.’

‘These reports can be tailored to individual requirements, with the ability to break the data down to supply, for instance an overview of a year, a specific team, an Act, a day or even a particular race. This capability is designed particularly for teams and media, enabling them to review and compare specific moments in the Series in an easily consumable format.’

As you’d expect, SAP tells us that ‘these new features and reports are helping the sport become more understandable for less familiar fans and enabling better insights to be provided through media channels.’

David Carr, the Extreme Sailing Series TV commentator said that: ”Extreme 40 sailing is the most fluid and closest racing in the world due to its close to shore stadium racing format. With every wind shift and mark rounding the race rankings are constantly changing.

“SAP Sailing Analytics allow me to stay completely on top of the leader board in real time and how those changes move the overall score board. At the end of the day, when one boat has dominated, I can sit down with the SAP technical experts and pick out the key factors that put that boat at the front of the fleet."

The 2014 Extreme Sailing Series has now wrapped for the year, with the Swiss Alinghi team claiming victory in Act 8, the final series of the year, and claiming the overall 2014 championship. The SAP Extreme Sailing team came 7th on the day and 8th in the overall 2014 standings.

For more information, the SAP Extreme Sailing team’s website is here, and the SAP Sailing website is here

The video of the press event is embedded below:

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Business Technology Wed, 17 Dec 2014 18:47:09 +1100
Facebook's MySQL password revealed Facebook's MySQL password revealed

Want to know the username and password for Facebook's MySQL database holding all your personal information? is a well-known service for sending nicely formatted code, text or error snippets to co-workers. What could be simpler than copy-and-paste, and then sending the URL? It is a great way of sending code samples on mailing lists, on web forums and so on. Pastebin gives you a compact URL, ready for emailing, posting, tweeting or what-have-you.

The URLs use cryptic codes not related to the content in any way, but even so, are designed to be publicly viewed with no access controls. Thus, anyone you send the URL to can view the link, and anyone they send it to can also view the link. And, of course, so too can anyone who just stumbles upon the URL by trying random combinations.

However it is possible the ease and simplicity of Pastebin makes it just too easy for corporations to divulge secrets.

In particular, Nathan Malcolm of Sinthetic Labs discovered Facebook programmers were sending error logs and code snippets to each other ... via Pastebin.

{loadposition david08}Inspecting the contents of these finds, Malcolm divulges the login names of some Facebook programmers (emir), the naming convention of Facebook developer machines (dev3003), where internal utilities are stored (/home/engshare), the name of an internal library of code (flib) and more.

Malcolm reveals official and actual Facebook shell script code and PHP code, and even makes this available as a zip file download from his web site, stressing that none of this code was illegaly taken from Facebook, nor was it given to him by any Facebook programmer. Rather, he found it simply lying around the Internet in public view.

One of the most interesting revelations is source code divulging a MySQL connection - specifically

 server address:
 database name: insights
 username: mark
 password: e5p0nd4

Who's Mark? Well, Mark Zuckerberg, suggests Malcolm - who incidentally held an officer position at the Jewish fraternity Alpha Epsilon Pi. The motto on this frat's coat of arms is ESPONDA - or, trickily encoded, e5p0nd4.

Now, chances are Facebook has changed this password. Or perhaps have not; knowing the password does not necessarily mean any outside person can do anything with it because the database is protected from the Internet via firewalls and access controls - though it does raise the question of whether Mr Zuckerberg uses this password for any of his other online accounts. Perhaps his own Facebook account?

How do programmers in your business share code with each other? All the firewalls and source code control systems and security mechanisms in the world are rendered just that little less valuable if intellectual property is being posted on the Internet for all and sundry to see.

]]> (David M Williams) Security Wed, 17 Dec 2014 17:09:09 +1100