iTWire - iTWire - Latest News iTWire - Technology news, trends, reviews, jobs Sun, 26 Oct 2014 09:07:02 +1100 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb Windows 10: New Build Arrives, Two Factor Authentication coming Windows 10: New Build Arrives, Two Factor Authentication coming

A new build, 9860, of the Windows 10 Technical Preview has arrived with nearly 7000 mostly behind-the-scenes updates, fixes, improvements and new features, with PCs running the preview to download it automatically along with users able to manually start the download process, while new two-factor authentication for better user and enterprise security is coming.

The Windows Technical Preview has made some advances since it launched little under four weeks ago, with Microsoft reporting the Windows Insider Program hitting 1 million total registrants after just a couple of weeks, while 250,000 pieces of “user-initiated feedback” have been received.

This news came via Microsoft’s official Windows Blog, which has some other pieces of interesting information.

First up is news of the latest update to Windows 10, with its official title still the “Windows Technical Preview” (which can be downloaded here). 

It launched at build 9841, with the new version build 9860

Microsoft says future updates will “sometimes be more frequent and sometimes there will be longer gaps, but they will always be chock full of changes and improvements, as well as some bugs and things that are not quite done.”

This newest build was only released a week earlier to Microsoft’s internal testers, so end-users are getting updates much faster than ever before.

For those already on build 9841, the Company says “the latest build will come to you automatically via the magic of Windows Update”, which for most people will mean during the middle of the night - as long as your PC is plugged in and either on or sleeping - after which it “downloaded and installed for you”, and is smart enough to “not automatically download the new build over metered networks”.

For those who want the build NOW, if they haven’t already had their computer automatically download it, you can go to “PC Settings, Update and recovery, Preview builds and click the Check Now button to go get it now.”

We’re told the build should be between 2GB and 2.74GB, “depending on CPU architecture and language”, and with installation and a slightly longer initial reboot process upon download completion.

The blog also warns that when installation happens, you’ll see the colourful “installing your apps” screen again “as your account is being provisioned again”, but that we’re not to worry as all existing apps, data and other stuff will still be there.

There are some catches, which is unsurprising given it is still beta software we’re playing with that no-one should be using as a primary system, with examples of “known issues” being a slightly more difficult Wi-Fi connection process, some UI “roughness” in Internet Explorer were its “glyphs” may look garbled while some Start Menu items might disappear due to driver issues.

Some machines apparently won’t wake up and go back to sleep properly, some users will discover that Microsoft Solitaire and Mahjong aren’t working properly and people using Display Link to have two external monitors might see blue screens, but one monitor via Display Link appears to be fine.

Microsoft says it is fully aware of these issues and says will have them fixed in the next or future builds.

On the plus side, there are “nearly 7,000 improvements and fixes to the product between 9841 and 9860”, with many of these fixes thanks to the feedback users have issued via the feedback app and the Community Forum.

The properly visible and cool changes include a long awaited “Action Centre for Windows PCs”, which is similar to the action centre on Windows Phones running 8.1.

In this build, Microsoft says that it will only be displaying “basic” notifications, which “quick actions and [a] cleaner UI [to] come later.”

Even so, the Company tells us that “You’ll see notifications from the system and apps – from new emails and invites to IMs, Facebook posts and more – all in one place, so you don’t miss a thing.”

You can also move apps more easily from one monitor to another and there’s a new animation for switching between virtual desktops.

It is also possible to determine what level of technical preview build number updating you want to go through, whether “fast” or “slow”.

Microsoft says that, by default, all Technical Preview users are in the “slow” update mode, or “ring” as they are calling it.

Those who are more adventurous can choose to join the “fast” ring, “which means that you’ll get it from Windows Update on the day it comes out”, although you’ll be the one testing for bugs that those on the “slow” ring should hopefully miss out on.

In addition, Microsoft is finally adding two factor authentication to Windows as a built-in feature, rather than one that requires someone else’s software.

Full details are in this Windows blog postbut Microsoft points to data breaches at retailers in the US which saw 1.2 billion usernames and passwords leaked to the criminal underworld

Microsoft’s blog post says: “With Windows 10 we’re actively addressing modern security threats with advancements to strengthen identity protection and access control, information protection, and threat resistance. With this release we will have nearly everything in place to move the world away from the use of single factor authentication options, like passwords.

“We are delivering robust data loss prevention right into the platform itself, and when it comes to online threats, such as malware, we’ll have a range of options to help enterprises protect against common causes of malware infection on PCs.”

Later in the blog post, it says: “We believe this solution brings identity protection to a new level as it takes multi-factor security which today is limited to solutions such as smartcards and builds it right into the operating system and device itself, eliminating the need for additional hardware security peripherals.”

There’s a lot more detail at Microsoft's blog post for those in enterprise who want to know more about what Microsoft is planning.

So, serious updates to Windows Technical Preview, which will morph into Windows 10 sometime next year, have started arriving, while Microsoft is finally taking security a lot more seriously, too.

It’s great news for enterprise, business and consumers, and while end-users will still need to be vigilant, two factor authentication just to log into your PC makes it vastly more difficult for those in possession of someone else’s username and password to log into a computer that’s not theirs.

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Business Software Sat, 25 Oct 2014 17:45:51 +1100
Cortana comes to Oz Cortana comes to Oz

To use Cortana you have to turn her on – or so says the ‘how to’. Windows Phone voice assistant Cortana is finally in Australia – albeit with a polished English accent.

I was surprised to find after an OS update on my Lumia 930 on Friday 24 October a new setting – called Quiet Hours. It says that during user definable quite hours Cortana handles calls, text and turns off other notifications. An innocent activation saw Cortana emerge from hiding. After absorbing the contents of the internet, she wanted to have a chat and discover my deepest, darkest secrets and desires.

We were soon chatting like old friends, she finding out the cost of a pint of Coopers Pale Ale and the closest pub where I could get one, to calling my wife – all without me lifting a finger. Now that is a personal assistant.

Its only 24 hours with her but I am beginning to see the possibilities.

{loadposition ray}

In order for Cortana to work best for you, it does need to know more about you. Unlike Siri or ‘OK Google’ that information is securely stored on your phone in a notebook that you can easily access and edit or remove entries if you wish. It is a whole lot more secure than its competitors that merge this into the gigabytes of data they already know about you.

Cortana currently has about 50 in-built commands - it can make calls, send texts, help organise your life, remind you to leave for meetings, set alarms, and take notes. It builds this functionality over time as it gets to know you and interrogates your email, calendar, music, and search habits.

You can tell her about your favourite sporting team or what you care about – she will find related articles and items of interest. She can combine these interests with your calendar.

She is a back seat driver – she can tell you if traffic is bad, or how early you should leave for the next appointment.

She is a tenacious dragon – she learns who your inner circle of family, friends are and can field calls.

As we do not know each other that well yet our little chats about anything and nothing “What do I feel like for breakfast” just bring back Bing results - they are amazingly relevant.

I am not sure how this is going to affect mobile data use – certainly, it is now a lot easier and more appealing to find things, which means being careful and using Wi-Fi when you can.

It is a dawn of a new era – personal assistants and I am going to try to have a deep and meaningful relationship with her to see if, like my wife, she is indispensable.

Although when I asked it to tell me a joke she responded “Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad.” Yes that is a wife joke!

Interestingly some international reviews place Cortana ahead of Google Now – and vice versa - and all suggest it is well ahead of Siri – I suspect that it is a function of the search engine and Bing is certainly powering ahead. One thing is clear – all three ecosystems have competent and improving personal assistants.

I will update iTWire readers on Cortana in a few weeks.

]]> (Ray Shaw) Mobility Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:35:55 +1100
Google’s Page pitches Pichai as new No.2’s-page-pitches-pichai-as-new-no2’s-page-pitches-pichai-as-new-no2 Google’s Page pitches Pichai as new No.2

Google’s CEO, Larry Page, has promoted Chrome, Android and Google apps chief Sundar Pichai to a new No.2 spot with several more Google products now in Pichai’s pitcher.

Sundar Pichai is now responsible for Google’s most important public facing products, which include Chrome, Android, Google apps, Google+, Google Research, Google Maps, Google Search, Google’s ads, Google commerce and Google’s infrastructure. 

Phew! That’s a heck of a list to go ogle and work on, but like Avis, who is or at least was number 2, too, we’re guessing that Pichai tries harder - and thus succeeds.

The news was exclusively announced by tech news titans in a very detailed report worth reading if you want to know the specifics of Pichai’s promotion.

Recode says it is a “significant reorganisation of Google management”.

Pichai has been at Google for 10 years, reportedly deflecting poaching attempts from Twitter and Microsoft and staying loyal to Larry Page, who still remains the ultimate Googler in charge of everything, and to whom Pichai reports.

A Q&A at Quora seeks to explain how Pichai operated so that he was promoted up to Google’s highest ranks. 

Recode calls Pichai one of Google’s new “Czars”, the Russian term for “Caesar” or emperor as was Julius Caesar, which makes me wonder how the term for Russia’s pre-communist king/emperors became a term so popular in the US, given the decades of animosity between the USA and Russia.

Pichai’s Google+ page makes no mention as yet of his promotion, nor has his title as yet changed, but now that his promotion is official we’re sure to see changes soon.

What changes we’ll see to the products Pichai is now responsible for is yet to be seen, but we’re sure to find out more about that soon, too.

Until then, Google’s quest to stay innovative and relevant as the company grows in power, size and influence continues relentlessly!

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) People Moves Sat, 25 Oct 2014 11:02:25 +1100
Presto’s legal medicine for the Dallas Buyers Club’s-legal-medicine-for-the-dallas-buyers-club’s-legal-medicine-for-the-dallas-buyers-club Presto’s legal medicine for the Dallas Buyers Club

With piracy of the Dallas Buyers Club in the news, Foxtel has announced the Oscar-winning movie is available to watch along with plenty of other movie titles from its Presto streaming service for just $9.99 per month.

Presto’s move is a clever one, taking advantage of the legal action between the movie’s makers and iiNet, with the movie’s creators seeking contact details for iiNet IP address (and customers) identified as having accessed the movie over Torrent networks.

That said, the people who were downloading Dallas Buyers Club over torrent networks were doing this some months ago, but for anyone still thinking of doing this now and worried about running afoul of those who actively record the IP addresses of torrent users, Presto does deliver a streaming movie fix that is free of the virus and malware threats torrent networks expose users to.

For those thinking Presto is just filled with older titles, the Company says: “Presto is known for the recency and quality of its movie selection and currently features more than half of last year’s top 100 Australian Box Office titles. Subscribers can sign up to Presto in minutes and are free to come and go from the service on a monthly basis.”

Presto’s library is billed as having “the most recent blockbusters, classic favourites and a host of other Oscar Award winning titles including, Argo, Frozen, Her, Blue Jasmine, Million Dollar Baby, The Departed, No Country For Old Men, American Beauty, Forrest Gump and others.”
{loadposition alex08}In addition, Presto’s user interface is slick, with “curated collections, recommendations and critics’ reviews”, as well as the ability to watch Presto on your TV via Google Chromcast, or on selected Android tablets, iOS tablets and PCs and Macs.

The Company also has even more up-to-date movies that aren’t yet part of the general $9.99 all-you-can-stream package, with these available as “pay-per-view” titles.
You’ll need an internet connection of at least 3Mbps to reliably watch Presto titles, and if you plan on watching a lot, you’ll want a generous download limit, but as that’s pretty standard these days for ADSL, cable and those with actual NBN connections, most people shouldn’t have an issue being Presto customers.

Presto’s moves to continue advertising itself and its movie library come in the face of the rumoured entry of US movie and TV show streaming giant Netflix into the Australian market, although it if comes, it’s Australian library is expected to be much smaller than its content library in the US due to movie and TV show licensing issues.

So, if you haven’t yet been tempted by legal movie streaming options, whether from Presto, Quickflix, Netflix or even Foxtel itself via its Foxtel Play and Foxtel Go services, the drumbeat to get you to try it and see if you like it is only going to get louder in the days, weeks, months and years ahead.

The Dallas Buyers Club trailer via YouTube. 

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Entertainment Sat, 25 Oct 2014 00:15:47 +1100
China tests spacecraft for future manned Moon mission China tests spacecraft for future manned Moon mission
On Friday, October 24, 2014, the Chinese launched an unmanned spacecraft toward the Moon as part of its plans to eventually land their astronauts on the lunar surface.
The mission launched from its operations facility called the Xichang Satellite Launch Center, in southwestern China.
The lunar program for China is called Chang'e, which is named after "Chang'e", a mythical goddess.
According to Chinese space officials, the spacecraft successfully separated from its carrier rocket and entered Earth orbit as planned.
The mission will entail going to the Moon, making an orbit of the body, and then returning to Earth for a controlled landing.
{loadposition william08}According to a statement released by the Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, the mission will end in eight days when the spacecraft lands in the central part of Inner Mongolia.
According to the DailyMail article "China's eight-day mission to fly around the moon and back to Earth blasts off", the official news agency of China, Xinhua, reported the following goals for this mission: "obtain experimental data and validate re-entry technologies such as guidance, navigation and control, heat shield and trajectory design."
The Chinese hope to send another unmanned spacecraft to the Moon for a lunar landing in 2017. This time, the mission will return lunar samples back to Earth. Only the United States and Russia have accomplished this feat so far.
Eventually, the Chinese hope to send astronauts to the Moon, sometime in the 2020s.
]]> (William Atkins) Space Fri, 24 Oct 2014 23:12:04 +1100
Symantec gives $260,000 to beyondblue$260000-to-beyondblue$260000-to-beyondblue Symantec gives $260,000 to beyondblue

Depression and anxiety charity beyondblue today received a further donation of $260,000 from software giant Symantec.

Symantec, the company behind the well-known Norton range of security products, has donated $260,000 to beyondblue.

The formal presentation took place at the Gold Coast 600 V8 Supercars event this morning.

Beyondblue deputy CEO Brian Graetz said Symantec is the charity's biggest corporate donor for the second consecutive year.

{loadposition stephen08}In March, one of the Norton Hornets cars was temporarily repainted in a livery reflecting the association between Norton and beyondblue.

"It worked really well," said Norton Hornets driver Michael Caruso.

For this event, the nicknames of the Norton Hornets drivers are being displayed on the sides of the cars. Mr Caruso said this was to symbolise the importance of camaraderie and "sticking by your mates."

"It's good to have nicknames on the cars," he said. "It'll be great to send that message... We're always hanging out together, looking after our mates."

Moff Dog




"Cyberbullying is a big issue," said the head of Symantec's Norton operation in the Asia Pacific region Mark Gorrie. More than one in five school-age kids are subjected to it, so Symantec is helping beyondblue educate children and parents about what to do when it happens and how to build resilience.

"Bullying is a really big factor for depression and suicide," he said, so beyondblue is running a national roadshow - currently visiting the Gold Coast - talking to schools and the wider community.

Symantec's donation helps deliver practical information to kids and parents, he said, and means beyondblue can provide practical resources for free.

Beyondblue's fact sheet for young people, along with other resources, is available via

Symantec has now donated a total of $560,000 to beyondblue.

The amount of this year's donation was linked to sales of Norton software in Australia, and fell slightly short of the $300,000 target set by the company.

Disclosure: The writer travelled to the Gold Coast as the guest of Symantec.

]]> (Stephen Withers) Strategy Fri, 24 Oct 2014 11:14:21 +1100
Intel CEO to deliver CES 2015 keynote Intel CEO to deliver CES 2015 keynote

Intel’s CEO, Brian Krzanich, will give a keynote on January 6 at 4.30pm Las Vegas time to the assembled global audience of the International CES, and promises to talk of amazing experiences, innovation, driving forces and more.

Chief Intel chipman, Brian Krzanich, will explain “what’s next” in computing innovation early next year at his CES keynote speech.

Despite endless smartphones and tablets running ARM processors vastly outnumbering smartphones and tablets with Intel Inside, Intel is still a major technological player suppling the vast majority of the PC-class processors and Windows compatibility that billions still need and use every day.

Intel has worked and is working very hard to make its processors ever more competitive than ARM, AMD or whatever other equivalents there may be out there.

Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the International CES organisation said: “Intel delivers innovative solutions that power the worldwide digital economy.

“Under Brian’s leadership, Intel is helping to shape this era where everything is smart and connected. We look forward to hearing his vision for the future at the 2015 CES,” he concluded.

{loadposition alex08}Mr Krzanich has been in Intel’s top spot since the 16th of May, 2013, but he did “progress through a series of technical and leadership roles at Intel” including his most recent stint at Intel COO.

More details of the live streams can be seen here, with more keynote and photo opportunities to come in the future.

Brian Krznichild himself did not say anything in the media release, but we only imagine that his Keynote speech will speaker much, much louder than media release words.

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Home IT Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:35:30 +1100
Telstra’s iPad pricing tips up: Air 2, Mini 3’s-ipad-pricing-tips-up-air-2-mini-3’s-ipad-pricing-tips-up-air-2-mini-3 Telstra’s iPad pricing tips up: Air 2, Mini 3

Telstra is now selling the iPad Air 2 and iPad Mini 3 with Wi-Fi + Cellular at select stores and online, each with four plans from “S” with 1GB of data to “XL” with 15GB data per month.

If you don’t want to buy a new iPad Air 2 or Mini 3 outright, telcos offering plans is one way to spread the cost out over 24 months while getting a set amount of data each month.

Plans for the 16GB iPad Air 2 with 1GB of data each month start at $51 per month over 24 months, with prices rising through 4GB, 8GB and 15GB included data plans rising through to $121 per month.

For the 128GB iPad Air 2, the same plans start at $60 per month through to $128 per month, showing the clear advantage of paying a bit extra to get a heck of a lot more on-board iPad storage.

{loadposition alex08}It’s a similar story with the less well endowed iPad Mini 3, with Telstra’s complete range of iPad Air 2 plans here , and its complete range of iPad Mini 3 prices here.

Telstra is also introducing “4GX” in one of the pages extolling the virtues of Telstra’s now more advanced 4G network, with 4GX really just being a marketing term for superfast LTE-A connectivity, stating that: “We've just turned on our new, superfast, 4G service- 4GX.

“It’s a new breed of 4G that uses superior 700MHz spectrum to give you access to the fastest 4G speeds on your device in Australia, making everyday tasks faster and new things possible.

“The good news is that the new iPad Air 2 is 4GX ready, so if you are in a 4GX enabled area you could get all the 4GX benefits.”

So, if a brand new current-gen iPad with Cellular is on your agenda, you can buy one outright, or if you’re prepared to pay extra for the ability to pay one off over 24 months along with some included data, the major telcos offering iPad plans are surely hoping to hear from you!

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Mobility Fri, 24 Oct 2014 01:08:49 +1100
Motorola’s 360 smart watch rolls into Australia Oct 31’s-360-smart-watch-rolls-into-australia-oct-31’s-360-smart-watch-rolls-into-australia-oct-31 Motorola’s 360 smart watch rolls into Australia Oct 31

Motorola had taken its time getting its round Moto 360 Android Wear smartwatch on sale in the US, and while Aussies have had to wait even longer, October 31 marks the date the initial wait is over.

Unfortunately, the wait will continue for some, as Motorola informs us that its Moto 360 will only be available in “limited quantities”, so if you want to be one of the first to get one, you’ll have to get your order in quick from your “preferred retailer”.

Set to cost A$329, Moto’s watch while come in two styles - stainless steel black with black leather band, and stainless steel silver with stone leather band.

A steel band version will arrive in “early 2015” for A$359, around the same time a famous crunchy company with a watch is set to arrive, while will make competition fiercer than ever.

{loadposition alex08}All three models are “specifically designed to help you manage your daily tasks with a flick of your wrist".
Naturally, there are also health sensors built-in, including a built-in pedometer and heart rate monitor.

As the first round smartwatch of the modern era and the first to generate real excitement, the biggest challenger to the 360 is the forthcoming Apple Watch, but Motorola is a company with tenacity, so we’ll have to see how it all turned out one a few years down the track.

Until then, full specs are here, but unless you get an order in the minute telco partners kick off sales in Australia, you may well be asking the question, “Android Where?!”

]]> (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Mobility Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:31:38 +1100
UltraServe goes for growth with Hybris Extend partnership UltraServe goes for growth with Hybris Extend partnership

Sydney-based managed cloud services company UltraServe has signed up as a managed public cloud provider for Hybris Software – a SAP company – in a partnership which the company says will result in faster growth in both the global and Australian market.

The deal sees UltraServe become an Infrastructure and Platform-as-a-Service provider within the hybris Extend program, the online marketplace that makes it easy for hybris clients to select quality solutions.

UltraServe CEO and founder Samuel Yeats said the hybris Extend listing was part of the company’s international outreach.

“Recently, we’ve signed up new customers in New Zealand and London, so hybris Extend is a key part of our strategy to get greater traction in the rest of Europe, the Americas and of course, continue to expand our footprint into Asia.

{loadposition peter}“Our self-developed hybris platform offering, SmartStack, provides customers with a highly flexible and robust capability to get the most out their hybris investment. We’ve built this cloud platform to address the challenges of delivering enterprise commerce in the cloud.

“Being part of the Extend marketplace strongly validates our capability and allows us to service even more customers. While it’s difficult to put a number around that, we expect to at least double our current growth rate.”

]]> (Peter Dinham) Cloud Fri, 24 Oct 2014 00:29:52 +1100