Chile Earthquake and Tsunami Warning
(link) Saturday, 27-February-2010 13:50:52 (GMT +10) - by Agg
There's been a magnitude 8.8 earthquake near Chile, resulting in a widespread tsunami alert for the Pacific, including parts of Australia's east coast. The BoM said tsunami waves could start affecting Norfolk and Lord Howe Islands after 8:30am (AEDT) on Sunday, NSW could be hit after 8:45am (AEDT) while Queensland could be hit after 8:15am (AEST).
A TSUNAMI IS A SERIES OF WAVES AND THE FIRST WAVE MAY NOT BE THE LARGEST. TSUNAMI WAVE HEIGHTS CANNOT BE PREDICTED AND CAN VARY SIGNIFICANTLY ALONG A COAST DUE TO LOCAL EFFECTS. THE TIME FROM ONE TSUNAMI WAVE TO THE NEXT CAN BE FIVE MINUTES TO AN HOUR, AND THE THREAT CAN CONTINUE FOR MANY HOURS AS MULTIPLE WAVES ARRIVE.
I know there have been previous warnings like this with no noticeable effect, but it's better to be safe than sorry. The official warnings from Australia's Bureau of Meteorology are here for QLD and here for NSW, while the Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre's website with updates is here.
AFACT have lodged an appeal against the earlier ruling favouring iiNet in their copyright case. They will be challenging almost the entire judgement. But central to the appeal is an argument that the judge applied an incorrect test for whether iiNet "authorised" the copyright infringement of subscribers on its network.
Senator Kate Lundy has suggested an internet filter "lite" for Australia. The bottom line is that for many people a (generally silently applied) mandatory filter with a secret blacklist would always be concerning regardless of the filter scope. It still wouldn’t engage or educate all Internet subscribers in better online safety practices, it wouldn’t deal with business concerns and it wouldn’t deal with concerns around a secret blacklist: only the direct engagement of Internet subscribers and the ability to legitimately opt out resolves these fundamental objections.
Meanwhile Senator Conroy's website filters filtering from itself, thanks Jay. In the function that creates the list, or "tag cloud", there is a condition that if the words "ISP filtering" appear they should be skipped and not displayed.
Paypal may be opening an apps store for developers, thanks Teddybear. "We have a huge emphasis on interacting with developers. They're our customers, along with consumers and merchants," Bedier said during an interview at an outside café in Miami Beach's Lincoln Road promenade.
Here's an amusing article looking back at computer manuals. For example, the manual for the Franklin Ace 100 begins with about 40 pages of computer basics (What are they? What can they do? etc). And then, on page 40, two thirds of the way down the page, there is a chapter heading called “The Ancestral Territorial Imperatives of the Trumpeter Swan.”
Mitchee sent in this photo which looks like a TIE fighter cockpit, but is in fact from inside the ISS's new cupola. The cupola's fully opened windows look down on the Sahara Desert in this image that was 'tweeted' from space by JAXA astronaut and Expedition 22 flight engineer Soichi Noguchi.
If you're after some educatin', there's a huge pile of free online computer science courses here. Schools like MIT, UC Berkeley, and UMass Boston, are offering free online courses on everything from basic programming to robotics.
Today's timewaster has a sciency bent too, being a solar system simulator. In fact there's a huge pile of similar simulation games here.
ATI Radeon HD 5830
(link) Friday, 26-February-2010 01:12:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg
AMD have released yet another DirectX 11 card, the Radeon HD 5830 at the value end of the market. Taking a look at their prices, which regrettably often differ from the retail ones, you can see that there is a substantial difference between the Radeon HD 5770 and Radeon HD 5850 which is not filled by a DirectX 11 compatible product. Trying to close this gap up, AMD announces one more model: Radeon HD 5830!
An Italian court has found Google executives guilty for allowing a bullying video to be posted online. Google consider this a serious threat to the web in Italy. "If individuals like myself and my Google colleagues who had nothing to do with the harassing incident, its filming or its uploading onto Google Video can be held criminally liable solely by virtue of our position at Google, every employee of any internet hosting service faces similar liability," he added.
Closer to home, someone in Western Australia has been successfully sued for online forum comments, thanks von Stalhein. The hunt for the man's true identity proved the stuff of private detective novels updated into the age of blogs.
Check out this bizarre pin-cushion building being built by the British in China. Costing £25million to build, the 60ft-high cube-like construction is covered by 60,000 quivering, transparent acrylic rods,received investment from eight Government departments and agencies.
NVIDIA have an interesting paper showing how a GPU with CUDA can accelerate SQL database operations. This paper focuses on accelerating SELECT queries and describes the considerations in an efficient GPU implemen-tation of the SQLite command processor. Results on an NVIDIA Tesla C1060 achieve speedups of 20-70X depend-ing on the size of the result set.
XbitLabs looked at some HDD silencers and coolers. Today we are going to talk about six solutions for cooling 3.5-inch hard disk drives. We will check the cooling efficiency and acoustic performance of products from GlacialTech, Scythe, Tuniq, Xilence and A.C.Ryan.
NASA have a Lunar Explorer Rover Simulator app for the iPhone. You want to Discover how LER’s turning radius, ability to move in multiple directions, attached suits, and habitat capabilities optimize safety and exploration efficiency. You want to virtual test drive the Lunar Electric Rover.
Meanwhile Dell have a tablet which is taking aim at the iPad, thanks disfuctional. The Mini 5 will sport a 5-megapixel camera on the back, a separate front-facing camera that can be used for video conferencing, a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, Wi-Fi and 3G connectivity and a Qualcomm Snapdragon 1-GHz processor. The 5-inch screen also means it will be be closer to the Sony PSP in its form factor than the longer legal notepad design of the iPad.
VooDoo sent word of a push to build a drag-strip in Melbourne, with more info here. As some of you may know, the Victorian people have been without competition ANDRA drag racing for over 10 years now. In co-operation with ANDRA, there has been a group of people lobbying to the state governmnet to get a world class track built in Victoria to bring back drag racing.
Remember we're having a geekiest self-portrait contest at the moment, to win a triple-screen LCD monitor stand from Proluma. A few good entries so far, but I'm sure we've got some bigger geeks on OCAU. :)
(link) Tuesday, 23-February-2010 10:11:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg
A document that people are claiming is a leaked draft of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement has some worrying elements. It proposes making ISPs (Internet service providers) liable under civil law for the content their subscribers upload or download using their networks. Sounds familiar..
Sounds familiar because it's just like the result that was NOT achieved by the recent AFACT vs iiNet case, which iiNet won, but who now are being asked to pay part of AFACT's legal fees, thanks enigma. "We didn't ask to be sued. They came to us and sued us and they lost, so I don't see why we should be paying any of their legal expenses," Malone told ZDNet.com.au today.
Also sounding familiar is this Tasmanian law: According to consumer group Digital Tasmania, Section 191 of the state’s Electoral Law currently requires all election material posted on the internet to be accompanied by an authorisation containing a person’s full name and home or work address. The situation mirrors legislation enacted in South Australia recently which requires a resident’s details to accompany any internet comment about the election. However, the state quickly pledged to repeal the legislation after substantial public dissent led by newspaper the Advertiser.
A couple of hardcore Apple fans have been married in an Apple store. The geeky ceremony was attended by around 30 friends and family -- as well as several bemused Apple shoppers. Staff also watched on in shock as the couple exchanged rings (attached to 1st generation iPods) and the wedding was conducted by a priest dressed as Steve Jobs.
There are apparently mountains of electronic waste building up in developing nations, according to the UN. The report gathered information about current levels of e-waste in 11 nations and also looked at how those totals might grow in the next decade. Globally, e-waste is growing at a rate of about 40 million tonnes per year as consumers, in both developed and developing nations, buy new gadgets and discard their old ones.
There's an interesting video here about gaming, including how Facebook has shaken the industry, and where the future of game design may be going. If you do experience design of any kind it’ll be the most valuable (and entertaining) 20 minutes you’ll spend all week. Actually I just watched it to the end and it was really interesting stuff.
TechReport consider CPU value. In our grand Athlon II vs. Core i3 showdown article last week, we included performance-per-dollar graphs based on whole system prices. Those system prices were themselves derived from the rough cost of a middle-of-the-road PC—the kind your typical enthusiast might buy. What if you're on a tight budget and really have to cut corners, though? We've whipped up another set of graphs, this time using prices from low-end components, in order to find out.
Original_Muse sent in this amusing but worrying article about working for the Government. In regards to the post on “ThinkUKnow” and government organised websites in general it seems apt to link to this journalists writings on when he was head hunted to be a speech writer. Then how he saw just how disorganised some government websites can be.
XbitLabs took a look at onboard PhysX. All contemporary Nvidia solutions support PhysX, but in return some of the GPU resources are assigned to physics effects acceleration. Is it possible to avoid performance losses without adding more cards? EVGA’s answer is "yes". We in our turn will try to answer the question if there is an alternative for the owners of ATI Radeon HD solutions.
Evil ZeR0 spotted this (beware, some NSFW ads) gingerbread PC worklog. I'd seen a couple of photos before but not the whole process, so thanks!
ThinkUKnow, Australia's new internet safety initiative for children, has been officially launched and has a YouTube channel. ThinkUKnow is an Internet safety program delivering interactive training to parents, carers and teachers through primary and secondary schools across Australia using a network of accredited trainers. Created by the UK Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre, ThinkUKnow Australia has been developed by the Australian Federal Police (AFP) and Microsoft Australia.
Nintendo's legal triumphs continue, with a ruling against a company selling r4 cards. The gadgets, known as R4 cards, are used to download pirated games on to handheld consoles and have been illegal in Australia since 2005. IT Solutions Pty Ltd - which trades as GadgetGear - was selling the cards online in Australia. The company will now have to pay Nintendo $620,000 in damages. GadgetGear has also agreed to stop importing the devices into Australia.
If you're using the Window7 Release Candidate, it will stop working soon. On March 1st, it will start shutting down every two hours. To avoid interruption, please reinstall a prior version of Windows or move to Windows 7. In either case, you'll need to do a custom (clean) install to replace the RC. As with any clean installation, you'll need to back up your data then reinstall your applications and restore the data.
I've seen a couple of episodes of the old "Connections" program by James Burke and really liked them, but never saw the rest. Well, good news, they're now free on YouTube. Good entertaining sciency stuff - if a little hammy nowadays. :)
If you're after a new domain name, sex.com will be up for sale again soon. The notice also states: “To be qualified to bid at the auction, bidders must appear at the auction with a certified bank check in the amount of $1,000,000.”
AusGamers are excited that the Nokia N900 Australian Release has been confirmed for april, with a press event on March 2nd. Australian pricing details have not yet been announced, but they'll be confirmed at the media event, so stay tuned for further details.
Futurelooks have some info on technology at the Winter Olympics. For instance, you know the gold, silver, and bronze medals being awarded to the winners? They took discarded circuit boards and collected the useful metals in them (gold, silver, and copper). The Royal Canadian Mint then recycled them into the highly treasured discs.
Overclockers.com ponder hard drive fragmentation. Defragmenting a HDD is one of those basics that we should all do and has been so since well, mechanical HDDs came into existence. However, is this just good housekeeping practice based on actual results, or is it just one of those myths about what to do with your computer to keep it running well?
Byteside have new Tech Show and Games Show episodes, with a focus on mobile computing and first-person shooters respectively.
Saturday Night Reviews #2
(link) Saturday, 20-February-2010 10:56:36 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Tech Report compare Core i3 and Athlon II. What happens when you test the Core i3-530 against the Athlon II X4 in a broad suite of benchmarks, while considering power efficiency, overclocking headroom, value, and historical perspective? Repetitive strain injury, if you're us. For you, though, we have a massive, comprehensive CPU roundup.
IGN ponder gaming in 2020. Live on IGN, a mammoth developer roundtable feature discussing what gaming will be like in the year 2020. Contributing to the discussion are representatives from 5th Cell, Blizzard, Turn 10, Rocksteady, Ubi Montreal, Radical, Capcom, Platinum Games, Gearbox, Guerrilla Games, FreeStyle Games, Bizarre Creations, Avalanche, Chrome and 2K.
Stephen Conroy continues to draw fire, with suggestions he has made too many bad calls and should be axed, thanks enigma. If governments were not required to take into consideration the political fallout attached to decision-making about who does and does not sit in cabinet, Kevin Rudd would surely have sacked Conroy by now.
Timbot spotted this interesting article about TechEd admins rickrolling leechers. We don’t shape the traffic on the network at all and nor do we see it as our role to police or restrict delegate use of the network (a policy that will, no doubt, change for tech•ed 2010 based on last year). Given this, we had to do a bit of seat-of-our-pants work to identify who the main culprits were and then implement counter-measures to at least lessen their impact on the delegates who were at the event to learn and share (rather than download).
Neerav wonders if we're headed for digital dark ages. One of the great ironies of the information age is that we are creating an abundance of information/multimedia content in the form of photos, video and text on the internet, computers and portable devices but also losing/destroying it at a fantastic pace because it isn't archived properly for the future.
Bjorn3D checked out some high-end hard drives. We are reviewing four Seagate Cheetah NS.2 600GB 10,000RPM 6.0Gbit/s SAS hard drives in order to see how well they perform in tasks like video editing and composing.
NASA has slashed the prices on their Space Shuttles, thanks von Stalheim. All stock must go! No reasonable offer refused! If an entire shuttle is beyond your budget, consider a main engine instead. NASA had hoped to charge up to $800,000 for these but lack of interest has forced it to slash the price. They are now available for free: a bargain in anybody's language. Just bear in mind that the buyer must pay for postage and packaging.
(link) Wednesday, 17-February-2010 12:26:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg
The Pale Blue Dot image is twenty years old. It has been said that astronomy is a humbling and character-building experience. There is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly with one another, and to preserve and cherish the pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known. There's a video here with Carl Sagan's speech about this amazing image.
Michael Atkinson apparently feels more at risk from gamers than from bikie gangs. I feel that my family and I are more at risk from gamers than we are from the outlaw motorcycle gangs who also hate me and are running a candidate against me. That candidate seems to be Kat Nicholson, PS3 gamer, thanks Auska.
Valhalla LAN Parties meanwhile have invited Mr Atkinson to see for himself that gamers cover a huge spectrum of perfectly normal, non-violent people. Video gamers include people of all ages, in fact, according to recent studies the average age of the gamer is now in the 30-40 year bracket as opposed to being limited to teenagers. Many of these people work respectable jobs in government and industry. Gamers include members of both sexes - the last two years has seen the number of female attendees at gaming events increase more than 300%. Discussion here.
Sniper spotted some 12-core AMD CPUs for sale. Oakville Mehlville Computers, a maker of custom servers and workstations from Missouri, has started to sell twelve-core AMD Opteron 6174 microprocessors for servers at an Ebay auction. The chips are not officially launched yet, even though the processors do not look like engineering samples and may belong to the first mass-production batch of twelve-core chips.
VooDoo spotted this alarming video of a very close call for Tony Abbott, with more info here. Mr Abbott was on his way to be briefed on safety issues on the Princes Highway south-west of Melbourne when the near miss occurred. His car was waiting to turn right on a single-lane section of the road at Winchelsea when the truck nearly rammed him from behind.
Toshiba announced some (PDF) 2.5" SAS drives. With top capacity at 600GB, the new MBF family represents the industry's highest capacity 2.5-inch enterprise-class HDD and features Toshiba's first enterprise-class self-encrypting drive (SED) offering. The introduction of the MBF series demonstrates the successful integration of Toshiba and Fujitsu's HDD business last year and illustrates Toshiba's capability and commitment to building further leadership in the enterprise market. This series meets the exacting standards of the enterprise market with 10,025 RPM spin speed and a 6Gb/s SAS interface for use in mid-range volume servers, mainstream storage arrays, blade and rack-mount servers and other business-critical, power-conscious, data-intensive applications.
Danamics has a new liquid metal cooler, thanks Sniper. The cooler measures 158.2 (L) x 170.5 (H) x 90 (D) mm and weights 1170 grams without a fan, features an electromagnetic pump which circulates liquid metal through nickel-plated tubes, can be equipped with two 120mm fans, and is bundled with the Power Booster 2, a 3.5-inch device that provides the required watts to get the metal going.
OCAU 10th Anniversary Polo Shirts and Stubby Holders
(link) Tuesday, 16-February-2010 02:46:23 (GMT +10) - by Agg
If you missed out when our last batch of 10th Anniversary merchandise sold out in only a few days, or if you want some more, now's your chance! We will be accepting pre-orders and payments until the 1st of March this time - that's the end of next week. These OCAU 10th Anniversary polo shirts and stubby holders will definitely not be repeated after this batch, so don't miss out!
Remember we're having a geekiest self-portrait contest at the moment, to win a triple-screen LCD monitor stand from Proluma. A few good entries so far, but I'm sure we've got some bigger geeks on OCAU. :)
Fellow Australian geeky site ZGeek is 10 years old. Congrats! Seriously, this site has been the best fun to run. I've met so many cool and amazing people. I've had so many funny moments and times where I have been literally blown away by some of the amazing geek skills you guys and gals have. It's been the best journey ever.
The backlash against Google automatically signing Gmail users up to Buzz has been significant enough that Google have changed the setup to NOT automatically sign people up. We've heard your feedback loud and clear, and since we launched Google Buzz four days ago, we've been working around the clock to address the concerns you've raised. Today, we wanted to let you know about a number of changes we'll be making over the next few days based on all the feedback we've received.
Barbie has a new role, as a Computer Engineer. Computer engineer Barbie, which will be released in winter 2010, sports a geek chic binary code patterned tee (We’d so wear that!) and she comes equipped with everything a modern day geek girl would use. That includes a smartphone, Bluetooth headset, laptop travel bag, and last but not least – a pink laptop. No word on whether it’s a Mac or PC though.
Microsoft are planning to update Windows 7's activation mechanism to work more like an antivirus program, tackling new cracks as they appear. More info here and here, thanks enigma and IntelInside. An optional Windows Activation Technologies Update for Windows 7, which will be released later this month, closes more than 70 "activation hacks," according to Joe Williams, general manager of Microsoft's Genuine Windows unit, responsible for anti-counterfeiting measures.
Sniper spotted this interesting YouTube Video Speed History feature. Your average video speed at this location from 14 January 2010 to 12 February 2010 was 1.97 Mbps. Hrm, not great actually.
When winter rolls around, you might end up poking your phone with a sausage. Apparently snack sausages from the CJ Corporation are electrostatically compatible with the iPhone's capacitive touchscreen, leading many to use them as a "meat stylus" in the cold weather, rather than remove a glove. And it's not just a joke; apparently South Korean snack sausage sales are soaring. Bizarre.
Enigma spotted an interesting story about a film benefitting from piracy. Unlike the majority of Hollywood movie bosses, the creators of Ink – Jamin and Kiowa Winans – decided to embrace their new-found pirate fans after the extra publicity pushed the movie to 16th place on IMDb’s movie meter and boosted DVD and Blu-ray sales. Kiowa wrote to TorrentFreak and said that the movie ending up on BitTorrent was “absolutely” the best thing that could’ve happened to it.
XbitLabs have info on AMD's upcoming 32nm Llano CPUs. As reported, AMD Llano accelerated processing unit (APU) will have four x86 cores based on the current micro-architecture each of which will have 9.69mm² die size (without L2 cache), a little more than 35 million transistors (without L2 cache), 2.5W – 25W power consumption, 0.8V – 1.3V voltage and target clock-speeds at over 3.0GHz clock-speed. The clock-speeds will dynamically scale their clock-speeds and voltages within the designated thermal design power in order to boost performance when a program does not require all four processing engines or trim power consumption when there is no demand for resources.
Monday Night Reviews
(link) Monday, 15-February-2010 12:43:39 (GMT +10) - by Agg
AusGamers have opened the voting for their 2009 Game of the Year. You have one week to vote and get behind your game, and tell your friends to sign up and help support your viewpoint, or even throw down their own. We waited this long to put this together because we didn't want to present this amidst everyone else's GOTY features, or have them steal our voting idea.
The ABC report that some Melbourne businesses have been hacked in response to violence against Indian students. It is believed computers belonging to at least five Melbourne businesses have been stripped of their data by a hacker who threatens to attack more companies if the violence continues. One Melbourne construction company says it lost all its data and had to pay $120,000 to repair its computer network. Discussion here.
Google are entering the world of ultra-fast broadband, thanks enigma. The company promised competitive pricing. Google already has a fibre network which connects its data centres, speeds up search and lowers the cost of streaming video on YouTube. The company believes that faster internet connections will benefit everybody. It will also get more people using the internet, swelling the number of potential customers for Google's search advertising business.
Check out this cool iPhone game which displays your enemies against the real world filmed through the camera. "Sky Siege" is a brand new dimension in gaming will literally have you standing up and fighting. You'll be frantically looking up down and spinning around to survive! I didn't think the iPhone had enough grunt to make that kind of thing work, though.. maybe it's a 3GS thing.
Speaking of augmented reality, Lego have some kiosks that can show you the completed model of a kit, in virtual 3D. Really interesting kiosk at the Lego Store in Woodfield Mall, Schaumberg, IL.
Telstra have lost their copyright case concerning the Yellow Pages and White Pages. The judgement also has wide-reaching implications because it may mean that companies that merely assemble a database of facts - such as auction or sports results - without any other 'literary effort' may not be able to copyright the information.
One of the founders of ThePirateBay has a new project, Flattr. It's an interesting twist on the micropayments idea. We aim to revolutionize how people pay and get paid for content on the internet. Come, join and show the world that good content is worth some coins out of your pocket.
Paul sent in this interesting article about software in the Cold War. Never ones to allow the limitations of the law to dictate their actions, the KGB officials inserted an agent to abduct the technology from a Canadian firm. Unbeknownst to the Soviet spies, the software they stole sported a little something extra: a few lines of computer code which had been inserted just for them.
Remember to keep an eye on our Sponsor Specials Forum if you're shopping around. In there our various sponsors have specials and info on monitor stands, fitness supplements, amplifiers, speaker kits, office chairs, media players, photography gear, HDMI cables, data recovery, web hosting and a range of components. It's worth a look!
Internet group Anonymous have turned their attention to the Australian Government, attacking several websites over the last couple of days. "The goal of today's attacks was to show the Australian Government that we are not afraid to act, and to raise awareness of the issue of internet censorship and our group's dedication to fighting it," the email said.
kombiman meanwhile sent word of a draft response to the public consultation on an R18+ rating for computer games in Australia. The public consultation on the introduction of an R18+ for computer games closes at the end of the month. Jessi Citizen, on behalf of Electronic Frontiers Australia and in conjunction with Ausgamers, has prepared a draft response to the consultation that sets out their understanding of the issues and their arguments. They're seeking comments from the community on their draft response.
AirQ spotted an article about quantum fractals. From thunderous mountain landscapes viewed from above to the erratic trajectories of Brownian motion, fractal patterns exist at many scales in nature. Physicists believe that fractals also exist in the quantum world, and now a group of researchers in the US has shown that this is indeed the case.
HWSecrets have an article about motherboard voltage regulation. In this tutorial we will present an in-depth trip inside the motherboard voltage regulator circuit, showing you how to identify this circuit, how it works, what the most common projects are and how to identify good-quality components.
I haven't heard that much about Google Buzz - there doesn't even seem to be a forum thread about it. Anyway, it looks like Google's entry to the social networking scene, kind've a facebook/twitter thing. Seems to work via gmail and mobile devices at the moment.
Speaking of Google, they say they will not censor YouTube in Australia, or at least, will not voluntarily comply with the Government's "Refused Classification" criteria. "The scope of RC is simply too broad and can raise genuine questions about restrictions on access to information. RC includes the grey realms of material instructing in any crime from [painting] graffiti to politically controversial crimes such as euthanasia, and exposing these topics to public debate is vital for democracy." Discussion here.
Supernanny has turned her attention to violent video games, declaring 20 minutes of gameplay enough to desensitise children. So really, what does this all say about the long-term effects of exposure to violent video games? I would suggest very, very little. That's why, there is absolutely no conclusive data in this area, despite dozens of similar research undertakings around the world, and despite Dr Tanya Byron's exhaustive analysis for the government's Digital Britain report.
HWLogic wonder if how 8GB of RAM in a laptop improves life on the run. And with the proliferation of DDR3 in notebooks, an 8GB upgrade isn’t just a statement of your commitment to run with the big dogs, it’s also a costly investment. Outside of bragging rights, is it worth it?
If you're using an SSD, you might find this SSD Tweak Utility useful. A user on the OCZ forums created a utility that gives you centralized access to all the popular SSD configuration points within Windows.
SGL is apparently back and running another LAN in Sydney soon: Our website is www.sgl.org.au and our first event will be for 300 LANners and running from Midday on 27th March to 4PM on 28th March and emceed by Jeremy "Junglist" Ray.
Byteside have another upcoming show you can RSVP to if you're keen. On the Tech Shiow, we're arming up with the best mobile tech in 'The Laptop Revolution'. We're on the cusp of sweeping changes to the way we take our computing on the road. Finally, the laptop is evolving and we've got the right experts to share insider insight.
A Brisbane man has been fined $1.5 million for uploading a pirate copy of Super Mario Bros Wii. James Burt, 24 from Brisbane, received an early copy of Nintendo's Super Mario Bros Wii and made it available for download from a website, which has since been shut down. As a result of his actions the Federal Court ordered Burt to pay Nintendo $1.5m in damages and also cover the $100,000 in court costs.
From FatBoyNotSoSlim: Basically the CS club at Waterloo uni in Canada is running a Tron themed AI code challenge and Google is sponsoring it. Its pretty slick and very easy to get started. There's still several weeks left to refine code, and a large variety of code languages are accepted. We can ever create an OCAU team if we wish. I started about 3 hours ago, and after copypasting some sample code (they recommend you do this) I’m ranked 190 in the world and 5th in Australia, which is scary as I don’t know what I’m doing.
Optus say they are on schedule to upgrade their cable network to 100Mbit/s by mid-2010, thanks Michael. The speed upgrade — which Optus first flagged on 20 November — will put Optus neck and neck with Telstra’s cable network, which the telco is also in the process of upgrading. It will see Optus’ network upgaded to the DoCSIS 3.0 standard.
nVIDIA have unveiled "Optimus Technology", which sadly doesn't turn their video cards into a truck or a giant robot, but instead allows transparent switching between integrated and discrete graphics, thus allowing performance and longer battery life in laptops. Coverage on PC Perspective, Tech Report, LegitReviews, HWZone and HotHardware.
MoJoMaN spotted this Apple Ad from New Zealand in 1984. "So simple to operate you can teach yourself the basics yet so versatile there's over 10,000 individual programmes to choose from. Apple Computers, simply good business".
Well, we're doing another competition now, to win one of the first Proluma triple-screen stands in Australia! This will naturally max out your geeky desktop, so the prize will go to the person who posts the geekiest self-portrait picture in this thread. Make sure you have an OCAU screenshot or an "OCAU" sign or something proving it's you.
I'll pick the geekiest, funniest or otherwise arbitrarily "best" top 10 and we'll run a poll to decide the winner. 2nd and 3rd place will score a couple of OCAU 10th Anniversary stubby coolers too. Entries close at the end of February, so get geekin'! Thanks again to Proluma for another cool prize.
OCAU is the third buzziest channel for tech brand mentions, it seems. Wait, what? A company called Brandtology do a "Digital Brand Index" to see which websites in Australia have the most mentions of the "top 65 tech brands" - we came up third after Twitter and Whirlpool.
It's been nearly a year since Wolfram|Alpha appeared on the scene, but my question is: is anyone using it? It seems like a cool idea but whenever I try to get anything out of it, I find myself shouting at page after page of Wolfram|Alpha isn't sure how to compute an answer from your input messages. So if you think it's cool and use it all the time, tell us about it in the comments.
PureOC have a guide to unlocking the X2 555 BE. How does a full-featured Phenom II X4 CPU for $99 sound? AMD's new dual core hotrod, the X2 555 BE, is actually an X4 in disguise and just needs a bit of help to unlock those two extra cores for all the performance goodness you can dream about at bargain prices. We successfully unlocked the X2 555 BE and we'll tell you how today and show the resulting performance increase.
IBM has been demonstrating graphene transistors that might replace silicon one day, thanks metamorphosis. IBM has created graphene transistors that leave silicon ones in the dust. The prototype devices, made from atom-thick sheets of carbon, operate at 100 gigahertz--meaning they can switch on and off 100 billion times each second, about 10 times as fast as the speediest silicon transistors.
Ashley spotted a video on a car ciggy lighter gadget that gives your buzzbox the sound of a throaty V8. It's a bit more clever than it seems at first, because it actually pipes the V8 sound to your stereo and reacts in sync with your throttle use. Could be quite amusing to install one in my bongo van.
Mysrh sent in this pictorial history of Windows. November 1985: Windows 1.0 launches, after four years in development as "Interface Manager".
HWZone have a 7-way CULV notebook battle. If you're still undecided on which Intel CULV notebook to get, then don't give this article a miss as we scope out the latest 13-inch models to see which one's really worth dragging the wallet out for. Acer, Dell, HP, Lenovo, LG, MSI and Toshiba battle it out in this shootout.
We haven't heard about the Large Hadron Collider much lately, but it is doing sciency stuff, although not at full power yet. The Large Hadron Collider is capable of creating collisions up to 14 TeV, but scientists are gradually easing the machine up to that level to try to avoid safety issues that have arisen in the past. ... During the collider’s next run in March, researchers hope to create collisions of 7 TeV, says Roland. The success of the latest effort “makes us extremely optimistic about the detector,” he says. “It performed beautifully during the run.”
The Space Shuttle Endeavour is about to perform what will probably be the last ever night launch for a Space Shuttle. The countdown clock is at T-9 minutes but they're about halfway through a 45-minute "built-in hold", after which the countdown will resume and, weather permitting, the Shuttle will launch in about half an hour from now.
The Shuttle Endeavour's launch has been delayed, and should now go ahead in about 18 hours or about 7:14pm Sydney time, I think. Shuttle Endeavour and its crew will deliver to the space station a third connecting module, the Italian-built Tranquility node and the seven-windowed cupola, which will be used as a control room for robotics. The mission will feature three spacewalks.
South Africa's Kulula airline has painted (at least) one of their planes in a quite clever explanatory colour scheme. Now every traveler can even learn where the black box is. If you find yourself looking for one, by the way, I think they're usually orange.
The FBI seem to be proposing that ISPs be required to keep records of website visits by their customers. Motta pointed to a 2006 resolution from the International Association of Chiefs of Police, which called for the "retention of customer subscriber information, and source and destination information for a minimum specified reasonable period of time so that it will be available to the law enforcement community." Recording what Web sites are visited, though, is likely to draw both practical and privacy objections.
Tweaktown have an SSD Optimisation Guide. Today we are going to cut through all of the hype and discuss proven methods that will allow you to get the most out of your high performance desktop or notebook.
JD spotted this (PDF) 49-port USB2.0 hub, in response to the power-only 80-port one from a few days ago.
Meanwhile if I can't have a flying car, I can at least walk to work in a mech, thanks James. Except I work from home, damnit. Imagine taking it through a drive-through, though. Stride menacingly to the second window please..
PCPerspective have some info on Intel's upcoming tera-scale technologies. We have been talking about tera-scale technologies since 2006 when it comes to Intel research programs. The name is perhaps more grandiose than the actual idea: as data sets increase in size the need for computing technologies to handle this amount of data will need to be created. It is no secret that the CPU as it exists today simply can't handle the massive amounts of parallel information that will soon become normal operating procedure.
stmok sent word of an Internet Explorer issue. Our investigation so far has shown that if a user is using a version of Internet Explorer that is not running in Protected Mode an attacker may be able to access files with an already known filename and location. These versions include Internet Explorer 5.01 Service Pack 4 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service 4; Internet Explorer 6 Service Pack 1 on Microsoft Windows 2000 Service Pack 4; and Internet Explorer 6, Internet Explorer 7, and Internet Explorer 8 on supported editions of Windows XP Service Pack 2, Windows XP Service Pack 3, and Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 2. Protected Mode prevents exploitation of this vulnerability and is running by default for versions of Internet Explorer on Windows Vista, Windows Server 2008, Windows 7, and Windows Server 2008.
Byteside have two new shows: the Tech Show: Byteside blasts into 2010 with a little subject called 'The Future', the Tech show explores some of the big ideas we'll be thinking about a lot in the coming decade. We explore the current hot ideas, from ebooks to iPads and 3DTV, to what happens next when the Internet is truly everywhere. And the Games Show: We start the new decade by exploring what might happen in the coming ten years. When might we see another generation of consoles? Where are the best new ideas in gaming going to come from? And is smellovision getting set for primetime?
Google are getting a bit Star Trek, with plans for a speech translating phone. “We think speech-to-speech translation should be possible and work reasonably well in a few years’ time,” said Franz Och, Google’s head of translation services. “Clearly, for it to work smoothly, you need a combination of high-accuracy machine translation and high-accuracy voice recognition, and that’s what we’re working on. To truly work as well as Trek's "universal translator", it has to make the aliens' lips move so they even look like they're speaking English. ;)
EB Games have joined the fight for an R18+ Rating for videogames in Australia. EB has announced that in all 350 EB Games stores across Australia customers will be able to sign a petition that will be used to lobby the Government to introduce an R18+ classification category for computer games.
I really am trying not to mention Michael Atkinson in every news post this week, but BFM spotted an interview with him on JJJ's "Hack" program. Gamers4Croydon President and Legislative Council candidate, Chris Prior, and South Australia Attorney General, Michael Atkinson, discuss the R18+ rating for videogames on a segment of TripleJ's Hack, a current affairs program, broadcast on Wednesday the 3rd of February 2010.
Quan-Time spotted this power piggy bank which is a kinda cool idea. If your kids have a habit of leaving their electronic devices turned on all day, this little gadget may be just for you. The Power Hog is a very special, easy-to-use piggy bank that helps children visualize and understand that using electricity costs money.
Robots can evolve to learn cooperation and hunting. What could possibly go wrong? The researchers described "spider" hunting techniques among the bots in which hunters would lie in wait for prey (which in this case, fortunately, consisted of other robots). The hunted, meanwhile, developed a strategy of "quickly (rotating) in place, which reduced the probability of being approached from the sides without sensors."
Speaking of which, there's a bizarre Lian Li marketing video involving a new spidery open-air case. Lian Li Chassis are rare and endangered, and very valuable indeed. None more so than this flirtatious creature captured on film for the first time-- in its unnatural habitat.
Bill and Melinda Gates have pledged $10 billion USD for vaccinations. "We really believe vaccines are great miracle of our lifetime," said Melinda, estimated that the new donation would save the lives of 8 million children in the developing world. The Gates couple also said they believed a malaria vaccine would be available "in our lifetime."
On a related note, those concerned about a possible link between certain vaccinations and autism should be aware that The Lancet has retracted the study from 1998 that linked the two, thanks JD. Since the controversial paper was published, British parents abandoned the vaccine in droves, leading to a resurgence of measles. Subsequent studies have found no proof that the vaccine is connected to autism, though some parents are still wary of the shot.
Intel have revealed more info about their upcoming mobile and 6-core CPUs, with coverage on HotHardware and TechReport. In a press conference earlier today, Intel provided a sneak peek at some of the papers it will present next week during the International Solid-State Circuits Conference in San Francisco. The chipmaker revealed a few juicy details about Gulftown, its upcoming six-core, 32-nm processor, as well as some interesting research prototypes kicking around in its labs.
I forgot who sent me this in IRC (sorry!) but it's some info on NASA's 2011 budget. People are upset about the Constellation (Shuttle-replacement) program being cancelled, but apparently the news isn't all bad. So NASA isn't giving up on space exploration, and it isn't just handing things over to private industry (it's merely going to incorporate it more). In fact, space exploration efforts will see an increase in funding by several billion dollars over the course of the next five years. Meanwhile, private industry will help advance efforts in LEO so that NASA can focus on the things that are most important (and the long term goals that corporations probably won't touch yet). The Constellation program is canceled but it has been replaced by a program that is likely far more cost-effective and realistic.
The Federal Court has handed down its judgement in the iiNet vs AFACT case, and it has ruled in iiNet's favour. No doubt there will be an appeal by AFACT but for the moment it seems the Court agrees that providing access to the Internet is not 'authorising' infringement.
The decision had the potential to impact internet users and the internet industry profoundly as it sets a legal precedent surrounding how much ISPs are required to do to prevent customers from downloading movies and other content illegally.
But after an on-and-off eight-week trial that examined whether iiNet authorised customers to download pirated movies, Justice Dennis Cowdroy found that the ISP was not liable for the downloading habits of its customers.
There's some highlights from the summary here and an analysis here. More info on The Age, ZDNet and ITNews. There's a twitter feed with a lot more links here. Thanks to everyone who sent in info! Discussion continues in this thread.
From the ACCC: It is alleged the telecommunications companies used a "bundled services deals" business model. Under the deals the company would enter into a contract with a small business to provide it with telecommunications services and call credits to cover payments for what some customers thought was "free" equipment. Whereas, it is alleged, the equipment was supplied to customers under rental agreements by finance companies that were not related to the telecommunications companies.
I'm not sure about all the claims being made so of course do your own research, but I thought it was definitely worthwhile passing along the warning.
I recently spotted this Pix gallery uploaded by MUTMAN and asked if he had any more info. Turns out it's from an email that has been doing the rounds for a while, but it's a pretty cool modular plug setup:
Following up on the previous story about South Australian anonymous election commentary, their Attorney-General Michael Atkinson has apparently backed down over the laws. "This way, no one need fear now that they are being censored on the net or in blogs, whether they blog under their own name or anonymously. The law will be repealed retrospectively. As much as I hate to use the phrase "a victory for common sense", that's what this is. In fact it's turning into a bit of an embarrassing week for Mr Atkinson, it seems.
(link) Tuesday, 2-February-2010 09:39:34 (GMT +10) - by Agg
Quite a few people sent word that there's new laws in South Australia, effectively censoring political comment on the upcoming State election by requiring any commenter to publish their name and street address. The law, which was pushed through last year as part of a raft of amendments to the Electoral Act and supported by the Liberal Party, also requires media organisations to keep a person's real name and full address on file for six months, and they face fines of $5000 if they do not hand over this information to the Electoral Commissioner. Err, so if we don't HAVE the real name and addresses of commenters, and of course have no way of verifying the info given to us anyway, what do we do? Just blindly ban any comment on the SA State Election? Not to mention that publishing your name and address on the internet is pretty universally known to be a bad idea. Faaaantastic. However, EFA seem to think it might not be as bad as it seems at first glance.
Intel and Micron have announced a 25nm NAND fab, with reports on LegitReviews, PC Perspective and HotHardware. February 1, 2010 marks the official announcement of 25 nanometer NAND technology--a major advancement for the company. Intel and Micron now lay claim to the smallest production ready semiconductor process technology in the industry.
Justice Cowdry will apparently be handing down the judgement in the iiNet vs AFACT case on Thursday. During cross-examination, iiNet stated it was legally unable to act as “judge and jury” by disconnecting customers, and that as such its only recourse was to refer cases of possible infringement to other authorities.
Overclockers.com have a 3-step guide to overclocking your Core i3, i5 or i7 system. There are so many people willing to give advice, but who can you trust? It’s hard to know, and I’ve seen many users sent on wild goose chases because they are following advice that doesn’t solve or even address their specific problem. I’ve also seen too much trial and error overclocking. What I will attempt to do is create a very simple three step guide to “one-size-fits-all” overclocking.
Whistleblower website Wikileaks has had to shut down, temporarily at least, due to lack of funds. The document repository, founded by an Australian living in East Africa, has been the catalyst for countless front-page stories around the world. It has exposed serious business and political corruption and sparked a political scandal in Australia when it published the federal government's secret blacklist of banned websites.
Koopzy sent word that the Principality of Hutt River is celebrating 40 years since secession. The Principality of Hutt River is situated 595 km north of Perth, Western Australia and is about 75 square km in area, consisting of some 18,500 acres of land. Hutt River is an Independent Sovereign State having seceded from Australia on the Twenty First Day of April 1970 and is of comparable size to Hong Kong (not the New Territories). More info on the Wikipedia Page.
I spent much of Monday stuffing polo shirts into post packs - and recovering from a hangover.. from saturday..
Tired of running out of USB ports? Never again, thanks to this 80-port USB board. Sadly it seems to be for power only, not data, so there go my plans for an 80 thumbdrive RAID array.
Google are inviting people to find bugs in their Chrome browser and/or the underlying Chromium framework, and be paid for it. As per Mozilla, our base reward for eligible bugs is $500. If the panel finds a particular bug particularly severe or particularly clever, we envisage rewards of $1337. The panel may also decide a single report actually constitutes multiple bugs. As a consumer of the Chromium open source project, Google will be sponsoring the rewards.
BFM sent in this article about bogus explosives detectors. There's more info on this Wikipedia page and here. According to the laboratory's Dr. Markus Kuhn, it was "impossible" for the card to detect anything and it had "absolutely nothing to do with the detection of TNT". The card could not be programmed, had no memory, no microprocessor and no form of information could be stored on it. Despite the high cost of the devices, the cards were worth only about two to three pence (3-5¢) each. Wow. The thing even looks like a dowsing rod.
If you're going to steal stuff at a trade show, it's probably a dumb idea to steal from the booth of a security company, thanks Timbot. That booth belonged to Swann Security, a company that specializes in home security equipment. Their cameras were set up at the time of the incident and show the thief taking off with a book he stole from their display.
The most accident-prone street in Britain has been bubble-wrapped to raise safety awareness, thanks Daniel. Cars, motorbikes, a kennel and even a garden gnome were covered in 1500sq metres of bubble wrap in an effort that took eight men over half a day.
I've been aware of this story for a couple of days but I'm still not sure if it's a beatup or the real deal, but people keep sending it in, so here it is: Australia is banning small breasts in pornography, because it may "encourage paedophilia". Riiiiight. More on boingboing and discussion here. The Australian Classification Board (ACB) has responded to accusations by The Australian Sex Party that material with depictions of women with small breasts has been banned. A spokesperson for the ACB told me today that publications which contain offensive depictions or descriptions of persons who are or appear to be persons under the age of 18 (whether they are engaged in sexual activity or not) must be classified RC.
RamblingThoughts compared some Digital TV PVR options. 99% of people are not Geeks obsessed with technology. So they don’t know what a Digital TV PVR (personal video recorder) is and why it can revolutionise their TV watching experience. This article compares 3 kinds of Digital TV PVR’s for free to air TV: Beyonwiz (non Freeview) vs Tivo (Freeview) vs Sony PlayTV (PlayStation 3 addon). It does not cover cable TV PVR’s like Foxtel IQ. I am kinda tempted to get one of those PlayTV things for my PS3, actually.
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