Category Archives: Technology

Technology related articles

Fujitsu Starts Selling Worlds First Colour E-Paper Mobile Device

Fujitsu Frontech and Fujitsu Laboratories co-developed proprietary color e-paper, and announced the launch of FLEPia in April 2007 as the world’s first color e-paper mobile terminal. Previously, commercial samples of FLEPia were available for purchase on a limited basis for corporate use only, as part of field trials of the first ever color e-paper mobile terminal.

Compared to the FLEPia commercial samples which were used in field marketing, the latest FLEPia offers 1.5 times higher brightness and greater contrast, enabled through optimization of the color e-paper’s optical properties.

Re-draw speed was also enhanced by 1.7 times. In addition to previously available high-speed wireless LAN, FLEPia is equipped with Bluetooth, enabling users to easily download and access various content from nearly any desired location.

Source: Fujitsu Frontech

New Australian High-Speed Broadband Network

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd announced today that the Australian government would go ahead and build the countries largest high-speed broadband network providing speeds of up to 100mbit to 90% of the country. Many commentators and industry figures saw the decision as bringing an end to Telstra’s monopoly of telecommunications infrastructure.

The big deal is that the Australian government will be the largest stakeholder in the network owning 51% of it, the remaining 49% will be owned by basically anyone who wants a piece of the action. The government will make available bonds to the public/private sector and even to private residents (similarly to what Telstra did about 10 years ago).

By 2011, most Australian’s will already have access to a 100 megabit per second connection via a variety of technologies, while the Government will only be one year into the (network) rollout Source: Duncan Riley

This new broadband network is due to be rolled out across Tasmania this year but the rest of the country won’t have access to the network until it is completed in 2017 (est. 7-8yrs).

That’s a long wait, but it should give us a lot of flexibility to increase speeds quite easily once better technology comes along (and by 2017 that will probably be the case) and will shoot Australia into the top 10 nations in the world with one of the fastest (and largest) broadband networks.

Computer Data Storage History – Now And Then

We’ve come a long way from punch cards to memory cards. From the 1700’s all the way to 2009 things have changed so much. Everyone always says how fast the computer industry changes, but from about 1725 through to 1925 it barely changed at all.

You had punch cards, paper tape, magnetic tape then in a great leap forward we started storing data on regular audio cassette tapes in the early 70’s through to the start of the 80’s.

Here are just a few storage technologies that really changed how we store data (before the 1990’s):

IBM Punch Cards (1725-1925):

(Image Credit: maximumPC – computer data storage through the ages)

Audio Cassette Tape (Early 1970’s to late 1980’s):

(Image Credit: maximumPC – computer data storage through the ages)

5.25” Floppy Disk (1976-1982)

There were 8” floppy disks which came out before these, but the 5.25” floppy disk was the first major magnetic disk storage to be used in mainstream computing.

So just remember, whenever you use your SD cards or 1TB external hard disk drives, your compact flash or mini disk just remember where it all started!

Computers For Everyone, Regardless of How Much Money You Have

There is an amazing place on Victoria street in West Melbourne called ‘Computerbank’ where you can purchase refurbished computer systems from as low as $15! They are a charitable organisation so they rely on community support for most of their stock.

It was originally set up to provide low income earners with an opportunity to obtain a computer system for their kids to do their homework on, for poor students to study on, for job seekers to find jobs with so they don’t get left behind and to give everyone a chance for a successful life regardless of your background or financial situation.

Computerbank recycles donated computers and distributes them to disadvantaged individuals and community groups.  Donated computers are tested, hard drives wiped, virus free open source software is installed on the computers and obsolete parts are recycled.  The recycled working computers come complete with a keyboard, monitor/screen and mouse and training booklet.  We also offer free training with each computer.  This work is carried out by volunteers, staff and Work for the Dole participants.

This place is really amazing and they do really great work for people in need. If you want to donate your old computers or spare parts they always welcome your support. Click here for more information on how to donate.

Optus Enters The ‘Naked DSL’ Market

There are two major Telco’s in Australia…Telstra and Optus, and as of a few days ago the 2nd largest telecommunications company in Australia has decided to enter into the ‘Naked DSL’ market.

For those of you who aren’t sure what Naked DSL is, it’s a broadband service offered by ISP’s that does not require an existing landline phone connection.

Optus today joins iiNet and several smaller telcos in offering "naked DSL" packages that allow people to connect to ADSL broadband without paying for a fixed line.

With mobile plans now offering hundreds of dollars worth of calls for less than $50 and some tech-savvy Australians making calls over their internet connections, the need for a landline has reduced dramatically. Source: The Age, march 2 2009: Last rites for the landline as Optus joins the ‘naked dsl’ brigade

As less and less Australians are using landline phones it makes sense that more and more ‘naked dsl’ services are being offered. Optus has been reluctant to enter this market as it didn’t want to jeopardise its established landline phone network (same reason Telstra hasn’t entered the market yet) but after seeing iiNet’s success with the service, Optus decided to hop on board.

The big difference between smaller ISP’s and Optus is that optus also carries mobile phone services, and it can augment its naked-dsl packages with mobile phone plans bring the total bill price down.

After a few months, it will be interesting to see if Telstra follows suit. If they do, it could mean the beginning of the end for the old landline phone service!

Online Music Sharing: From Napster To iTunes

We’ve come along way in the online world of music. So much has changed in the ways we obtain music online, the technologies used to deliver this new music and the ever changing business models and politics behind it all.

napster Back in 1999 a small file sharing application was born known as Napster. It was created by a bright student at Harvard University Shawn Fanning. The Napster application was a pioneer in online music sharing. It enabled anyone with a computer, a 56k modem and a CD burner to download music (for free) from other’s sharing that music on the internet and burn it to a CD to play that album in your car stereo or even your Discman!

Napster was well known for being a great source of finding unreleased bootleg tracks or copies of songs performed live that nobody else seemed to sell and it was it’s popularity that would eventually cause its downfall.

In 2000, shortly after its reign as supreme app of the dot com boom the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) sued Napster over copyright infringement and providing a means to facilitate music piracy.

"We love the idea of using technology to build artist communities, but that’s not what Napster is all about,”…”Napster is about facilitating piracy, and trying to build a business on the backs of artists and copyright owners." Cary Sherman – Senior VP at RIAA (1999)

Napster fell off the map shortly after this after scrapping their P2P business, but a few years later they created a new business based around the sales of music instead of just giving it away (although they still do give some music away for free, mainly independent artists who just want their voice heard).

There have been many similar p2p file sharing applications come out since the days of Napster, just to name a few:

  • Morpheus
  • WinMX
  • Bearshare

Later after this we saw stuff like Limewire and Kazaa hit the internet and the strange thing is, these days both companies still exist but Limewire has some how managed to dodge all the bullets from RIAA and other authorities to dodge lawsuits and the like from their p2p application.

Kazaa was just like Limewire but they lost a number of lawsuits and have now become a similar business to Napster.

So here we are, about 2003-2004. iTunes had already been available for a year or two as music software for the popular music player iPod.

Apple had created this giant monster of a music player, but at the time the only way people could get their music onto their players legally was itunesto ‘rip’ their music CD’s they already owned to their iTunes libraries to play them on their iPods. Seeing that other businesses by that time had started online music stores to download music legally Apple figured they should get into that market to provide a place where people could download music legally (for a price) for their own iPod devices. After all, what’s the point of making a music player and not proving a good way to get music onto the thing?

Around late 2003 early 2004 Apple launches its iTunes music store in the US, then later in 04 launches the store to the EU. A year later, Australia and others got their own music stores. So now Apple had a legitimate legal way for their iPod users to get music onto their iPods, and Apple being Apple with the great ideas and flawless business models capitalized on the shortcomings of other online stores to provide the best online marketplace for music there is.

If you would like to learn more about the history of online music sharing, Napster, iTunes, etc here are some great links:

And the rest as they say, is history.

Want A Sure-fire Way Of Ruining A Song? Set It As Your Ringtone!

Have you ever heard the saying “Play a song to death and you’ll get sick of it!”, well that’s exactly what happens and there’s no faster way of doing that than to set the song in question as your ringtone on your phone.

iphone Most people these days don’t use the default ringer tone on their phone for incoming calls, they set their favourite songs as their ringtones, but why do this? Why send your favourite songs to an early grave? What will most likely happen is you’ll have the song set on your phone for about a week and after an entire week of calls you’ll be so sick of the song (and maybe even the artist) it will take you ages to get back into them.

This is one of the main reasons why I defy the trends and just use the default ringer. People will say that’s boring, people may even call it stupid, but when I’m sitting on a train and hear somebody’s phone ring to the sound of Britney Spears “Hit me baby one more time”, I’ll just have to hit them!