iTWire - iTWire - Latest News iTWire - Technology news, trends, reviews, jobs http://www.itwire.com Sat, 07 Mar 2015 12:34:54 +1100 Joomla! - Open Source Content Management en-gb VIDEO: MWC - Watch HTC’s One M9, Grip and Vive VR presentation http://www.itwire.com/your-it-news/mobility/67203-video-mwc-watch-htc’s-one-m9-grip-and-vive-presentation http://www.itwire.com/your-it-news/mobility/67203-video-mwc-watch-htc’s-one-m9-grip-and-vive-presentation VIDEO: MWC - Watch HTC’s One M9, Grip and Vive VR presentation

HTC launched its own suite of goodies at the Mobile World Congress, a new One M9 flagship, a new smartwatch wearable and a new VR headset.

It seems the whole world besides Apple launched its new flagship phones at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with Apple of course having launched its flagships in Q3 2014 when it normally does.

HTC was no exception, giving a presentation that featured several HTC execs including HTC founder Peter Chou showing off all of HTC new flagship wares.

The presentation can be seen embedded below. Unfortunately there seems to be a slight clipping problem with the audio, which makes the audio sound slightly unnatural, and as you’d expect, the Taiwanese execs all sported heavy accents which understandable enough to my ears but might be more difficult for non native English speakers to understand.

Even Google’s automatic closed captioning had a hard time understanding what was being said - turn it on for yourself to see it completely mangle what HTC founder Peter Chou was saying.

If I were an HTC executive, I’d be loading my own closed captioning into the back-end of YouTube to avoid this problem and to make things easier for people who want to know exactly what was being said, especially with the audio clipping problem.

Indeed, if there is a clean copy of the presentation, I would re-upload it - but perhaps the recording is like this too and nothing can be done at this time. Audio guy - you had one job!!

Anyway, here is the presentation - more details on what was actually launched follows afterward.

So, what HTC has done is to release three key new devices: the HTC One M9, the successor to the M8 and M7 before it, the Grip smart wearable, and the new Vive VR headset, with the last two coming with the ‘Re’ branding that HTC has used for its innovative Re camera.

The M9 looks very similar to its predecessors, but naturally has been refined to look even more impressive. A 20 megapixel camera graces the back, and can even do 4K video recording, while an Ultrabixel front camera ensures great selfies and can record 1080P video too.

HTC’s already excellent front-facing speakers are now enhanced by Dolby technology to deliver a 5.1 surround sound effect, promising the best audio from a smartphone ever.

The display is a 5-inch Full HD model - unlike the Quad HD or similar displays on other smartphones, but there is a Qualcomm Snapdragon 810 64-bit octa-core processor within, along with 3GB RAM, 32GB onboard storage and a microSD slot capable of taking up to 128GB microSD cards - something Samsung eschewed with its latest S6 and S6 edge.

You can find out all the details and other specs on the One M9 at HTC’s site here

Then there’s the HTC Grip. It’s a ‘high-performance, smart fitness tracker’ that is GPS-enabled. It is powered by UA Record, a health and fitness network from Under Armour, designed for athletes and fitness enthusiasts. It’s compatible with Android and iOS devices, as well as Bluetooth-enabled accessories like heart-rate monitors, and is designed to help athletes or those who want to turbo-boost their fitness levels to truly excel.

You can see all the details of the HTC Grip here

Finally we saw HTC’s new virtual reality headset called the Vive, created in partnership with well known games company Valve.

It will launch as a ‘developer edition’ sometime in the next three months, but a full consumer edition is promised to launch before the end of the year.

It is HTC’s answer to Samsung’s Gear VR headset, Google’s Cardboard VR device, LG’s VR headset and of course Microsoft’s Holo Lens device, although it would appear that Microsoft’s headset is the one to beat this year, and while it is great to see HTC and Valve partnering on what promises to be some amazing experiences, time will tell whose headset is the most popular - while also giving us firm pricing, which we don’t yet know for the Vive or the Holo Lens.

More information from HTC’s impressive looking Vive website is here

Is all of this enough to ‘revive’ HTC’s fortunes? Well, it’s certainly more than enough to keep HTC as a contender, as a top player in the great smartphone, smart watch and VR game, but HTC is certainly facing a huge amount of competition from ever maturing alternatives, including Apple itself, alongside Microsoft’s push to breathe much needed new life into its Windows Phone and Windows 10 platform.

So … if you’re an HTC fan, you’ll certainly love all of these new devices and will presumably be looking to upgrade if and when the budget allows, but whether it’s enough to tempt users of other devices from the next versions of the devices they’re already using is something we’ll be watching unfold throughout the real reality of the rest of 2015.

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alex@itwire.com.au (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Mobility Fri, 06 Mar 2015 22:34:38 +1100
Asset.Guru: asset management for small businesses http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/cloud/67201-assetguru-asset-management-for-small-businesses http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/cloud/67201-assetguru-asset-management-for-small-businesses Asset.Guru: asset management for small businesses

Asset.Guru brings order to the chaos that can occur when spreadsheets are used for asset management.

Asset management is "absolutely needed" by SMEs, Asset.Guru founder and chief executive Chris Petersen told iTWire, but those businesses cannot afford expensive software, and there is a gap between the basic asset management facilities provided in accounting software and enterprise asset management (EAM) systems.

[See the video of iTWire's previous interview with Petersen.]

Or at least there was before the introduction of Asset.Guru.

Asset.Guru is aimed at businesses with annual turnovers of around $2 million or more, Petersen explained, because at that point there is usually sufficient asset complexity that the owner or manager can't track all the assets in their head, but the budget cannot run to EAM.

{loadposition stephen08}"Every company should know their asset base," he said. Many organisations have 'ghost assets' that are not being tracked or depreciated.

While Asset.Guru is particularly relevant to companies in the mining, construction and other asset-intensive sectors, it is more about asset complexity than any particular vertical market. The first customer was a human resources company, and others are as diverse as surf lifesaving clubs and aged care facilities.

Examples of assets being managed include vehicles, building equipment, air conditioners, lifts, and even intellectual property, which he said is "a golden opportunity that we've only just discovered."

By the end of March, Asset.Guru will support low-value asset pools.

The cloud-based Asset.Guru can be used as a standalone service, or integrated with the cloud Xero accounting system. Consideration is being given to integration with MYOB, QuickBooks and other accounting products, Petersen told iTWire.

The service runs in one of Amazon Web Service's European regions. "Our main markets are New Zealand, Australia and the UK," he said, citing the cultural fit, similar tax rules, and Asset.Guru's overlap with Xero. Asset.Guru will probably run in additional AWS regions in time, and multi-language support is planned.

One problem with asset management is that "spreadsheets still rule" even in large companies, he said, but they are not suited to situations were 'any time, any place, any one' access is required.

The integration between Asset.Guru and accounting software is "really about saving time and improving accuracy," he explained. It does away with the need to circulate spreadsheets for checking, and journal entries can be posted directly to Xero for depreciation or when an asset is sold.

Pricing starts at $49 a month when billed annually, and that covers up to 1,500 assets and three users.

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swithers@blackandwrite.com.au (Stephen Withers) Cloud Fri, 06 Mar 2015 17:12:33 +1100
Microsoft releases Office 2016 for Mac Preview at last http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/business-software/67200-microsoft-releases-office-2016-for-mac-preview-at-last http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/business-software/67200-microsoft-releases-office-2016-for-mac-preview-at-last Microsoft releases Office 2016 for Mac Preview at last

Five years after Office 2011 for Mac was released, Microsoft has finally gotten around to releasing its long-awaited update as a free preview, dubbed Office 2016 for Mac.

Looking very similar to the current Windows version of Office 2013, the new version of Microsoft Office for Mac is here as a free preview, with the download clocking in at 2.66GB - and available here

A commenter named ‘DarrelCWebster’ at the Office blog announcing the release responds to a question as to whether an Office 2016 Preview for Windows is coming and whether it will run on Windows 7, with Webster stating “There will be a preview of Office 2016 for Windows available soon. It will run on Windows 7”, which naturally also includes Windows 8/8.1/10.

While the preview is free, the final version whenever it arrives presumably won’t be, available either as part of a monthly Office 365 subscription or at whatever standalone price Microsoft decides to charge should it offer it as a retail product.

Microsoft promises that ‘Office 2016 for Mac shares an unmistakably Office experience – but it is also thoughtfully designed to take advantage of the unique features of the Mac.’

At long last, Microsoft has boarded the Retina high-resolution graphics bandwagon after a disappointing lack of retina support in the past.

The office suite maker says there are ‘thousands of retina-optimized graphics, full screen view for native immersive experiences, and even little Mac affordances like scroll bounce.’

Given that I’m still downloading the new version myself, I may as well simply give you the details Microsoft has shared about what the new Office 2016 for Mac includes.

We’re told that there are ‘new and improved versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, and Outlook.’

In addition, ’the user experience has been modernised and makes it easier to get things done’, with a ‘redesigned ribbon’ that ‘intuitively organises features so searching is quick and easy.’

There’s a ‘refreshed task pane interface’ which ‘makes positioning, resizing, or rotating graphics easy so creating a specific layout is simple to create. And new themes and styles help pull it all together to produce stunning, professional documents.’

So, what are some of the specifics for each program in the suite?

First up is Word. Here we’re told that its ‘state of the art editing, reviewing and sharing tools make authoring and polishing documents easy.’

There’s a design tab that ‘allows you to manage layout, colours and fonts across a document, and the navigation pane helps you refine the document structure and efficiently navigate to points of interest. Threaded comments turn editing cycles into conversations, so you spend less time trying to connect the dots.’

Second is Excel. It has ‘many new charts, graphs, keyboard shortcuts and data entry enhancements (like formula builder and autocomplete) immediately make for more productive working.’

It also has ‘support for Excel 2013 (for Windows) functions [which] ensures that it’s easy to share files across platforms. The new Analysis ToolPak offers a wide range of statistical functions, including moving averages and exponential smoothing, and PivotTable Slicers help cut through large volumes of data to find patterns that answer questions.’

Third is Powerpoint. It has a new ‘Presenter Views’ capability which ‘displays the current slide, the next slide, notes and a timer on the Mac, while projecting only the presentation to the audience on the big screen.’

Meanwhile, a ‘new animation pane helps you build presentations faster, and new slide transitions ensures the finished product is polished and professional.’

Fourth is the recently released Outlook for Mac, which is now part of the preview suite.

It uses ‘push mail support to deliver an always-up-to-date inbox, has an improved conversation view automatically organises the inbox around threaded conversations and a new message preview gives you the first sentence of an email just below the subject line so users can quickly decide to read it now or come back later.’

Fifth is OneNote. This lets you ‘capture, organise and share ideas with digital notebooks that can be accessed on any device.’

You can use tags like “To Do” or “Important” or “Question” add structure to notes.

Its updated system ‘also helps to find things quickly with a powerful search engine that tracks tags, indexes typed notes and uses OCR to recognise text in images and handwritten notes.’

There's no version of Publisher for Mac, nor Access for Mac, but the Office programs above are certainly the most popular from the Office suite. 

Microsoft says all of this demonstrates its ‘commitment to cross-platform support and consistent experiences across devices. Unmistakably Office, but thoughtfully designed for the Mac.’

{loadposition alex08}

As you can imagine, the company is encouraging Mac users to download the apps today, and in Microsoft’s new spirit of wanting as much feedback as possible, they want users to share their experiences, with that feedback then used ‘finalise the product for release later this summer.’

Presumably that means the Australian winter, which I’m guessing Microsoft Australia’s PR company missed out on localising for Aussie readers, and which means sometime over the next three to six months.

An Office blog post with more information is here, while the download location for the preview is here. 

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alex@itwire.com.au (Alex Zaharov-Reutt) Business Software Fri, 06 Mar 2015 16:05:18 +1100
Local customers sing Tableau's praises http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/business-technology/67198-local-customers-sing-tableaus-praises http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/business-technology/67198-local-customers-sing-tableaus-praises Local customers sing Tableau's praises

You'd expect customer presentations at vendor's conferences to be positive, but at the Tableau Conference On Tour in Melbourne this week users didn't just share their successes, they passed on the lessons they had learned.

Among a variety of user presentations at the Tableau Conference On Tour in Melbourne this week, Intellipharm explained what it's done with Tableau, while amaysim shared some of the secrets of its success.

Intellipharm BI manager Yoann Leny described how his company - which provides data services to retail pharmacies and manufacturers, and operates the Loyalty One loyalty program - can be more agile thanks to Tableau.

The company found it took two to three weeks to develop a new report in PHP, .Net and the other web tools it used. So it realised needed an agile BI platform that allowed collaboration and could be embedded in a business system.

{loadposition stephen08}"Tableau is a perfect tool for this," he said. The product is easy to use, and provides "highly insightful visualisation," the company provides good support and the pace of its R&D is "the best in this market."

Intellipharm simply puts content from Tableau Server into a frame on a web page.

Its GroupIQ system comprises 23 modules, and was developed in just three months.

GroupIQ provides a range of analytics. One example is date and time analysis - when do people visit the pharmacy, and what do they buy?

This interactive report shows a tag cloud of categories and suppliers, along with a variety of graphs highlighting when peaks occur. This may prove what pharmacy managers think is happening, or reveal something they hadn't noticed, and can suggest, for instance, when more staff are needed, or reveal good times for suppliers to run in-store promotions.

Custom reports can be developed in two or three days (very different to the two or three weeks without Tableau) if requested by clients. One example shows 'items now out of stock that have been sold in last 30 days'. This reveals problematic suppliers, and helps guide stock levels. BI should be about action, Leny observed.

This agility allows the company to capture new opportunities, he said.

As for performance, there are 100 million rows of data behind GroupIQ, and "it's working pretty quickly."

Australia's largest MVNO amaysim is another local Tableau customer, and BI manager Adrian Loong (pictured) offered some advice about encouraging the broad use of analytics within an organisation.

His experience at three companies is that a good way to engage senior executives is to use Tableau to answer a specific business question (in amaysim's case, an example is 'what part of our channel is activating the most SIMs') and importantly linking that back to financial performance.

He also recommends putting the most important item at the top left of a report or dashboard, giving executives an opportunity to experiment with the system, and to "start small" (perhaps with just one desktop licence) and then "iterate quickly, and deliver business value."

"It's about the insights, not the metrics," he explained.

But it's not just about the top tiers. "Analytics is for everyone," so cultural change is needed, Loong suggested.

So he recommends democratising the opportunity - "you don't have to be an IT specialist to use Tableau" - and showing people what they can do with it. 'Pivot tables on steroids' can be a starting point.

This also requires an understanding the needs of different stakeholders (for example, where senior executives are usually concerned about revenue generation or cost reduction, specialists and more junior leaders may want to streamline the processes that lead to gaining insights).

One problem with extending analytics to a broad user base is the coding work traditionally done by BI specialists doesn't scale, so it is necessary to prepare the data to suppor self-service analytics.

And remember, "you have to celebrate success," he said.

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swithers@blackandwrite.com.au (Stephen Withers) Business Technology Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:09:20 +1100
Melbourne’s Bombora expands to Middle East market http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/strategy/67199-melbourne’s-bombora-expands-to-middle-east-market http://www.itwire.com/it-industry-news/strategy/67199-melbourne’s-bombora-expands-to-middle-east-market Melbourne’s Bombora expands to Middle East market

Australian Internet infrastructure specialists Bombora Technologies has today opened a new office in Dubai following what it says is strong growth in client acquisitions and increased revenues across all streams.

Adrian Kinderis, Chief Executive Officer of Bombora Technologies, opened the company’s third office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, which he said to consolidated the Group’s “market-leading presence in the sector” and which capitalised on opportunities presented by the region’s fast growing information and communications technology (ICT) markets.   

Kinderis announced the appointment of Mohammad Zeidan as the Group’s General Manager of Middle East and North Africa (MENA) operations.

“From our humble origins 14 years ago in our first Australian office, we’ve now grown Bombora Technologies into a global, multi-disciplinary Internet infrastructure powerhouse with more than 100 employees in offices located in Los Angeles, Dubai and Melbourne and contracts that span the globe,” Kinderis said.

{loadposition peter}“Across the Group, our brands are continually exceeding revenue forecasts by expanding into new markets and sectors. By way of example, our IT solutions brand ZOAK Solutions secured a major seven-year Government contract in September for the build and management of a national, essential service digital asset.   

“We’re now strategically investing in our Dubai office to drive strong growth in this area of our business and secure more major client wins.”    

Kinderis said a primary focus of the new Dubai office will be to drive further growth of the high performing consulting services program offered by the Group’s global registry services brand, ARI Registry Services, along with another priority to increase revenue from the Group’s operations in شبكة. (.web in Arabic and pronounced ‘dot shabaka), the world’s first new Top-Level Domain.

“For more than seven years, ARI Registry Services has held the position of the region’s leading provider of domain name Registry, DNS and consulting services. This includes significant contracts with the Governments of Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates for software and infrastructure services on their respective national Internet identities.

“More recently, ARI Registry Services has been appointed to provide far-reaching digital brand consulting services for governments, brands and entrepreneurs in the region.

“Through our new office, we now have the capability to reach new markets, explore new business opportunities and continue to grow the global footprint of this high-achieving organisation.”  

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peter.dinham@itwire.com (Peter Dinham) Strategy Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:59:28 +1100
Employers need to get ‘organisational culture’ right to address gender imbalance http://www.itwire.com/it-people-news/recruitment/67197-employers-need-to-get-‘organisational-culture’-right-to-address-gender-imbalance http://www.itwire.com/it-people-news/recruitment/67197-employers-need-to-get-‘organisational-culture’-right-to-address-gender-imbalance Employers need to get ‘organisational culture’ right to address gender imbalance

It seems the gender imbalance in the ICT industry is alive and well, with half of IT professionals in Australia believing women in the industry do not have the same career opportunities as men.

But, there maybe some light at the end of the tunnel for women working in IT, with project management and business analysis which typically require a higher level of interpersonal skills attract more females. It’s the same with newer technologies such as digital, which are also attracting more attention from females.

That’s some of the findings of a new report published today by ICT recruitment firm Greythorn which finds that the IT industry remains significantly tipped towards men at the technical and senior end of the scale.

And, architecture and infrastructure were the least favourable jobs for gender balance, however all skill sets listed had a majority share in favour of men, says Greythorn.

{loadposition peter}According to Greythorn’s survey of over 2,700 IT professionals, with those professonals at a senior level - CIO, IT Director and IT Manager - the split of women to men was a just 12% to 88%.

Greythorn’s research also showed key skills in demand for 2015 are Cloud Computing, Big Data, Mobility, Business Intelligence and Project Management, and that all of these areas will require IT personnel with a range of technical, interpersonal and leadership skills who are “adept communicators and able to work as business partners”.

Greythorn suggests that as the number of women choosing to study in the “traditionally male area of IT” declines more needs to be done to encourage women into this field of study, “ensuring there is a diverse talent pool from which to hire”.

Greythorn Managing Director Greythorn APAC Richard Fischer says Greythorn’s survey shows that of the 2,700-plus IT professionals surveyed only 16% were women, a figure that is reflective of the industry at large.

“The IT industry is vibrant and constantly evolving. Employers need to promote the benefits of a modern IT career, one that is exciting, dynamic and highly engaging.

“The attraction of females to the industry as well as attracting new people to the industry generally, regardless of gender or maturity is essential.”

Fischer says that people will change careers multiple times during their working lives and the process of attracting them to the IT industry should be targeted to all levels, “not just at high school or university levels.”

And, Greythorn poses the question: “So, what can be done to alter the stereotype and inspire more women to begin and continue with IT careers?” Greythorn’s research suggests flexible working conditions are key to this, with 58% of respondents calling for improvements in this area.

Fischer says flexibility in the workplace assists staff with balancing family and career commitments, but that this must be applied to men and women equally. “Women can progress further in their careers not just through utilising flexible work practices, but by their partners utilising flexible work practices too, extending gender equality in the management of household, children, aging parents or other dependents”.

According to Fischer, many suggest quotas as another answer, however he says it’s not about setting quotas, and that this sends the wrong message.

“The single most important thing employers can do is get their organisational culture right so that leaders support individuals regardless of gender to progress based on merit. Fostering a culture where the workforce is rewarded and recognised on the achievement of outcomes, not the time spent at their desk, is preferable.

“Further, developing a culture to the point where the overlaps of work, family and community are not only acknowledged but respected and supported are the best things an employer can do to attract both men and women to their organisation.”

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peter.dinham@itwire.com (Peter Dinham) Recruitment Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:18:26 +1100
DDoS is the new spam: F5 http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/security/67196-ddos-is-the-new-spam-f5 http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/security/67196-ddos-is-the-new-spam-f5 DDoS is the new spam: F5

F5 Networks sees DDoS attacks as the new spam, and - as with spam - multiple layers of defence are needed.

DDoS (distributed denial of service) attacks are "becoming a prevalent problem," according to F5's world-wide security evangelist Preston Hogue (pictured).

The availability of large amounts of bandwidth plus the rapid installation of technology in developing countries has resulted in the construction of many botnets that can be used by "malicious entities" to attack systems.

There's also the opportunity to steal credit card details and use them to pay for cloud infrastructure that can be used to mount attacks - with the added advantage that those systems' IP addresses are usually not regarded as suspicious by security systems.

{loadposition stephen08}Furthermore, organisations that thought they would not come under DDoS attack are falling victim, he said.

This is because attacks can be a reaction to an event that the malicious entity - which could be government sponsored - didn't like, or it could be timed to cause embarrassment by coinciding with a big product launch.

Part of the problem is that attack traffic appears legitimate to most security systems. "The 'wrapper' approach does not work," Hogue said, and suggested that "intrinsic security systems" that incorporate a thorough understanding of multiple internet protocols are required.

That understanding means the security system is better placed to mitigate new types of DDoS attacks as it can recognise normal traffic. Significant volumes of abnormal traffic suggest an attack is underway.

For example, F5's systems imposed rate-limiting on SSL renegotiations before anyone tried using that part of the protocol as a DDoS technique.

But unless vendors broaden the range of protocols understood by such devices, "malicious entities will continue to find weaknesses [to exploit]," he said.

F5 products operate as full proxies, and the resulting visibility of all traffic makes it easier to separate the wheat from the chaff.

Gateway devices like this are important because they can process "the full pipe," Hogue explained, and eliminate traffic that would overwhelm servers.

But there is still a role for security systems running at the server level. For example, the detection of "low and slow" attacks requires visibility of server resources.

DDoS is the new spam, and everyone needs to be aware of it, said Hogue. "This is one of the top risks for all businesses."

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swithers@blackandwrite.com.au (Stephen Withers) Security Fri, 06 Mar 2015 14:16:50 +1100
ACS: Intergenerational Report overlooks digital skills issue http://www.itwire.com/government-tech-news/govenrment-tech-policy/67195-acs-intergenerational-report-overlooks-digital-skills-issue http://www.itwire.com/government-tech-news/govenrment-tech-policy/67195-acs-intergenerational-report-overlooks-digital-skills-issue ACS: Intergenerational Report overlooks digital skills issue

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) says the federal government’s Intergenerational Report released yesterday has failed to address the critical issue of digital skills, which are now the “foundation skills for a successful, modern economy”.

While welcoming the report, which highlights the need for increased participation from youth, women and mature aged workers, ACS President Brenda Aynsley said that the report reinforces the need to retain youth, women and mature workers in the workforce, but “it is critical that they are provided with the digital skills they need to do this”.

“This is something the report failed to address. The ACS strongly believes that all Australians should be provided with pathways to technology skills that will empower them to participate in the modern Australian workplace.

“This has long been a focus for the ACS.  There needs to be a more focused and integrated education and training strategy by Governments to help ensure Australia has the necessary digital skills base.”

{loadposition peter}According to Aynsley, with rates of productivity growth in Australia expected to stall at 1.5% for the next four decades, Australia faces a major economic challenge.

“It is estimated that technology jobs have a the multiplier effect of any sector, with each tech job creating five more jobs in other sectors – three times more than traditional industries. ICT professionals have a pivotal role to play in driving future growth and a stronger focus by Governments on fostering Australia’s digital skills base will reignite productivity growth.”

Aynsley said the ACS believes the immediate priority for Governments, State and Federal, should be a stronger emphasis on digital technologies in education, including:

•    Mandating a Digital Technologies stream as part of the primary and secondary school curriculum with a particular focus on coding

•    Ensuring all VET courses teach a minimum level of ICT skills and competencies; and providing more work-integrated learning opportunities (such as internships) for tertiary ICT students to help develop work readiness

•    A focus on assisting SMEs to attain minimum levels of digital competence and literacy – in particular ‘hands on’ programs which assist individual businesses benchmark their digital literacy, identify specific areas of weakness, and assist them to engage with suitable organisations and professionals who can help address these weaknesses.

“On a big picture level, we need to ensure there is an appropriate pipeline of ICT human capital to power our economy,” Aynsley said.

“The jury is no longer out – ICT skills and ICT education are now critical to national productivity and economic success. We can no longer rely on traditional economic growth sectors such as resources and manufacturing.  Our future economic gains, across all industry sectors, will be powered by technology and ICT infrastructure.”

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peter.dinham@itwire.com (Peter Dinham) Government Tech Policy Fri, 06 Mar 2015 12:47:29 +1100
Acer selected for WA government panel http://www.itwire.com/government-tech-news/govenrment-tech-policy/67194-acer-selected-for-wa-government-panel http://www.itwire.com/government-tech-news/govenrment-tech-policy/67194-acer-selected-for-wa-government-panel Acer selected for WA government panel

Acer has won a seat on the Western Australian Government procurement panel for computing and mobile devices.

The Western Australian Department of Finance awarded Acer membership of the new Common Use Arrangement Contract for Computing and Mobile Devices which will assist WA agencies to cost-effectively acquire their computing and mobile device needs.

Rod Bassi, Sales Director, Acer Computer Oceanic Region said Acer has submitted its full range of business grade desktops, tablets, hybrids and all-in-ones, and as well as its consumer range together with Chromebooks, delivering the benefits of a single platform from a single vendor to all WA agencies, large or small.

Bassi said that, as the prime contractor, Acer has pre-selected a group with specialist public sector expertise from its State-wide network of established resellers to undertake the direct customer relationships.

{loadposition peter}“Acer is proud to be awarded a position on the latest CUA and will be building on our 25 year record of supplying exceptional value for money and the highest quality systems as a preferred supplier to the Western Australian government and education markets.”

“Our inclusion on the panel will enable both small and large agencies to leverage Acer’s strength of a combined single supply and service operation.”

The CUA covers all agencies in the State and is mandatory for government agencies in the Perth metropolitan area. The arrangement, worth many millions of dollars to industry, is for an initial contract period of two years, with three twelve-month extension options.

Bassi said that, with a proven track record in the government and education sectors across all Australian state jurisdictions, Acer is also signed to the Federal All of Government panel.

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peter.dinham@itwire.com (Peter Dinham) Government Tech Policy Fri, 06 Mar 2015 11:43:59 +1100
Linux developer sues VMware, claims GPL violations http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/67193-linux-developer-sues-vmware-claims-gpl-violations http://www.itwire.com/business-it-news/open-source/67193-linux-developer-sues-vmware-claims-gpl-violations Linux developer sues VMware, claims GPL violations

Linux kernel developer Christoph Hellwig has sued virtualisation company VMware in Hamburg, claiming that the company has violated the General Public Licence under which the kernel is distributed.

The announcement was made by the Software Freedom Conservancy, a New York-based non-profit that helps promote, improve, develop, and defend free and open source projects. It will be financially backing the court action.

The GPLv2 states clearly that source code for any software developed under the licence has to be provided, along with any modifications, in the event that the software is being distributed.

Hellwig, the maintainer of the kernel's SCSI sub-storage system, has accused VMWare of GPL violations since 2007.

{loadposition sam08}According to a media release from the Conservancy, in 2011 it discovered that VMware had failed to provide or offer any source code for the version of BusyBox included in VMware's ESXi products.

In early 2012, the Conservancy began talks with VMware to seek compliance on all GPL components in the ESXi project but nothing of substance happened.

Hellwig joined the Conservancy's GPL Compliance for Linux Developers in late 2012 and helped to analyse VMware's current ESXi products. It was found that they infringed many of Hellwig's own copyrights.

Both the Conservancy and Hellwig say that VMware has combined copyrighted Linux code, licensed under the GPLv2, with their own proprietary code called "vmkernel" and distributed the entire combined work without providing or offering complete, corresponding source code.

Hellwig's legal counsel is Till Jaeger who has handled several lawsuits regarding GPL violations.

The Free Software Foundation, while not a party to the suit, has backed the Conservancy and Hellwig.

"From our conversations with the Software Freedom Conservancy, I know that they have been completely reasonable in their expectations with VMware and have taken all appropriate steps to address this failure before resorting to the courts," John Sullivan, the executive director of the FSF said in a statement.

"Their motivation is to stand up for the rights of computer users and developers worldwide, the very same rights VMware has enjoyed as a distributor of GPL-covered software. The point of the GPL is that nobody can claim those rights and then kick away the ladder to prevent others from also receiving them. We hope VMware will step up and do the right thing."

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sam@gnubies.com (Sam Varghese) Open Source Fri, 06 Mar 2015 11:10:32 +1100