Jul 262013
 
radio discussion on technology, social media and cloud computing

Last night’s ABC Nightlife looked at how email is evolving but most of our callers were concerned with configuring their email, anti-virus programs and blocking adverts on the web.

The audio of the program is available through the ABC website.

As usual, it’s tough to answer all the questions on live radio so here’s the ones from listeners Tony and I said we’d get back to.

Ad blockers

Website owners are desperately trying to find ways to make money from their sites, unfortunately its proving difficult so we’re seeing increasingly intrusive ads trying to distract us while we surf the web.

A number of Tony’s callers asked about adblocking programs to get rid of these irritating ads and there’s a few paid and free solutions available for computer users.

The most popular solution is Adblock, a plug in available for Firefox, Chrome, Opera and Android. The developers have a handy video guide to installing and configuring their product.

For Internet Explorer users, Simple Adblock is a plug in that should work with their browser.

Be aware with ad blocking programs that they may change the layout of the sites you visit so be prepared for some strange looking pages.

Also keep in mind that website owners are desperately trying to find ways to pay the bills, so you won’t stop the more cunning ads or sponsored content that pretends to be real news. You might also put a few online media sites out of business.

Anti-Virus programs

One common question from Nightlife listeners are what anti virus programs should they use.

Probably the simplest for Windows users is Microsoft Security Essentials or the free AVG Anti-Virus. For OSX Users, Clam AV and Sophos’ Free Anti Virus for Mac will do the job.

If you have Norton or McAfee anti virus programs on your Windows PC, then getting rid of the software is not straightforward. After uninstalling the software, you’ll have to run their removal tools which are available from the Symantec (Norton) or McAfee websites. Read the instructions carefully.

Switching to Hotmail

A curious thing about Microsoft is how they like to irritate loyal customers with interface changes that leave everyone confused. Hotmail users are among the latest victims after the company migrated them to the Outlook.com platform.

Deborah called in to ask how she could switch back to Hotmail from Outlook.com – sadly the official line from Microsoft is “you can’t”. It appears that all of the work arounds to get Hotmail back have also been closed down and the old service is no more.

For Deborah, the choice is to either get used to Outlook.com or investigate other online mail services like Gmail or Yahoo!.

The next ABC Nightlife will be on in around five weeks. Hope you can join us then.

May 302013
 
radio programs for techonology, web, social media, cloud computing and computer advice

Paul Wallbank joins Tony Delroy on ABC Nightife across Australia to discuss how technology affects your business and life. For May 2013 we’ll be looking at crowdsourcing and crowdfunding.

The show will be available on all ABC Local stations and streamed online through the Nightlife website.

If you missed the show, you can download it from the Nightlife with Tony Delroy webpage.

Some of the topics we’ll discuss include the following;

  • what is crowdfunding?
  • how does it differ from crowdsourcing?
  • some people say crowdsourcing is a huge cost saver for business, is it?
  • crowdsourcing can be controversial as well, who get upset by it?
  • for creatives like musicians, writers and artists a lot are trying crowdsourcing, how is it going?
  • can crowdsourcing save journalism?
  • what are the ptifalls with crowdsourcing and crowdfunding

Some crowdsourcing and outsourcing resources we’ll mention include;

We’d love to hear your views so join the conversation with your on-air questions, ideas or comments; phone in on the night on 1300 800 222 within Australia or +61 2 8333 1000 from outside Australia.

Tune in on your local ABC radio station or listen online at www.abc.net.au/nightlife.

You can SMS Nightlife’s talkback on 19922702, or through twitter to @paulwallbank using the #abcnightlife hashtag or visit the Nightlife Facebook page.

May 272013
 
servers running business cloud computer applications

This morning on 702 Sydney I’m talking to Linda Mottram on the decidedly unsexy topic of storage – hard drives, cloud computing and the struggle to keep up with ever expanding file sizes of documents, photos and downloads.

It’s an opportunity to revisit the How Much Data Does The Internet Need topic which I covered for Radio National last year, although almost certainly that needs updating.

Earlier this year networking vendor Cisco released its 2013 Virtual Networking Index which forecast global data traffic growing fourteen fold over the next five years.

Those bytes slopping around the internet have to come to rest on someone’s hard drive and this is what’s driving the storage crisis.

Yesterday US business site Venture Beat had an op-ed by an executive from Seagate, the world’s biggest hard drive manufacturer where he discussed the storage challenges with a claim from industry consultants IDC that worldwide computer storage is 2.7 zettabytes.

A zettabyte is a trillion gigabytes, or ten followed by twenty zeros – it’s the equivalent of a billion one terabyte hard drives that are standard on most cheap desktop computers.

Where those hard drives are located is the big challenge, is it on your laptop, smartphone or on a somewhere on a cloud service?

The other big challenge is what do you do with all this information – which is where the Big Data discussion comes in.

While data storage is a mundane topic, it’s a big one that matters. I hope you can tune in.

We’d love to hear your views so join the conversation with your on-air questions, ideas or comments; phone in on 1300 222 702 or post a question on ABC702 Sydney’s Facebook page.

If you’re a social media users, you can also follow the show through twitter to @paulwallbank and @702Sydney.

Apr 032013
 
radio programs for techonology, web, social media, cloud computing and computer advice

For the April 2013 Nighlife spot Tony Delroy and I looked at the mobile phone turning 40, Windows 8 coming to an end, Blackberry’s chances of succeeding and what happens when the internet goes dark.

Danny Hillis gives a great discussion of what could happen if the internet was turned off along with the history of the net in this TED talk.

If you missed the show, you can download it from the Nightlife website.The next show will be on May 16 and we hope you can join us then.

Feb 202013
 
radio programs for techonology, web, social media, cloud computing and computer advice

Paul Wallbank joins Tony Delroy on ABC Nightife across Australia to discuss how technology affects your business and life. For February 2013 we’ll be looking at the software rip-off, smartphones for seniors and Telstra’s roadmap for the mobile economy.

The show will be available on all ABC Local stations and streamed online through the Nightlife website.

Some of the topics we’ll discuss include the following;

We’d love to hear your views so join the conversation with your on-air questions, ideas or comments; phone in on the night on 1300 800 222 within Australia or +61 2 8333 1000 from outside Australia.

Tune in on your local ABC radio station or listen online at www.abc.net.au/nightlife.

You can SMS Nightlife’s talkback on 19922702, or through twitter to @paulwallbank using the #abcnightlife hashtag or visit the Nightlife Facebook page.

Feb 082013
 
change and tech discussed on radio

I used to be a cranky radio listener.

One morning in early 1998 I was listening to my local ABC station, then 2BL, when stand in breakfast host Bob Hughes was interviewing a “Y2K expert” who had the standard spiel designed to scare people into buying expensive consulting services.

Irritated by the expert’s shoddy advice, I dashed off a quick “with respect” fax to the radio station – the ABC didn’t have publicly facing email addresses at that time – and expected it would be ignored.

A few weeks later Bob Hughes invited me on his regular Sunday spot to talk about Y2K and computers in general. He didn’t mention we’d spend most of the time taking listeners’ calls.

After a few minutes of ‘umming’ and ‘aaahing’ with lots of bluffing, Bob finished with “we’ll see you next month Paul.”

So it began.

Over time the segments moved from 702 Weekend on Sunday mornings to regional spots and the national Tony Delroy nightlife segment

Looking at the sadly neglected PC Rescue website, the programs have ranged from the mundane to the mad, bad and ugly.

At the ugly side, the Windows virus epidemic of the early 2000s looms large. At one stage almost every caller had a virus problem, the only ones that were didn’t were Mac users calling in to crow about their not having this problem.

We enjoyed the various platform wars as Microsoft consolidated its strength and then saw it ebb away as first Firefox started chipping away at its browser dominance, Google at its Internet strategy and then Apple came roaring back into relevance.

The radio shows track the rise of the web as we started talking about the various online services that were changing computing.

One of the critical things, which still hasn’t changed, was billing problems.

Through the early 2000s Australian telcos had shocking charges for data and mobile services. Calls from listeners distressed at big bills was common and the TIOs contact details would be among our most frequent answer.

It was Telstra’s decision to stop stunting Australian internet growth and offer reasonably priced plans, albeit with criminally tiny data allowances, that kick started consumer adoption of broadband plans.

Today the questions revolve around social media, online security and the merits of Android versus Apple smartphones and tablets, it’s quite notable at how Microsoft has moved from dominating the program to being almost irrelevant.

How the next 15 years will pan out are anyone’s  guess, although one suspects pervasive computing, the cloud and the internet of machines will be among the trends we’ll see.

Last week Tim Berners-Lee said that innovation is only just beginning, it’s going to be an interesting, wild ride.

I’m still a cranky radio listener, but these days I have a lot more sympathy for producers and announcers.

Jan 292013
 
fibre_optic

I’ve covered what the NBN is previously on the ABC for Tony Delroy’s Nightlife and on Technology Spectator last year looked at the challenges ahead for the project in 2013.

The National Broadband Network was always going to be one of the key issues in the 2013 Federal election, The Liberal Party’s policy launch on Sunday and Malcolm Turnbull’s comments on ABC Radio station 702 Sydney on Friday illustrated how critical it will be.

His assertion that wireless should be affordable is laudable, but the indications are that it is increasingly going to become less affordable.

It also puts the coalition in a bad position, losing the three to four billion dollars expected from the spectrum auction wouldn’t help their budget position.

One comment from Malcolm that particularly sticks out is on subsidies;

If I could just make one other point Linda, possibly the most important. The government as we know is spending a stupendous amount of money on building a national fibre to the premises broadband network. And the subsidies there run into the tens of billions of dollars –

The member for Wentworth is facturally wrong; there are no subsidies for the NBN, the government is providing the capital for the project which they hope will be paid back by 2018.

the value of the network once completed will be a fraction of what the government is spending on it.

On what basis? Certainly fibre has a 25 to 40 year expected life cycle, but that’s true of a roadway or an office building; does Malcolm suggest we don’t spend on that as well.

you could make a very powerful argument that the form, the channel of broadband communication which adds the most to productivity is in fact wireless broadband.

Possibly, but let’s see that argument. Currently data downloads to fixed lines still dwarfs mobile, both are growing exponentially.

Malcolm actually touches on the problem we’re facing with wireless — the shortage of bandwidth.

The government has been very slow at getting it out. As of the last report there was only about eight and a half thousand premises connected to the fibre optic network that they’re building throughout all of Australia

This is true, the rollout so far of the NBN has been disappointing. This is what observers are watching closely on this.

The Fibre to the Node setup also creates another problem – that of ownership. If Telstra retain ownership of the copper cable from the node to the premises, it means providers have to deal with two wholesalers one of whom is their competitor.

In fact it creates a whole rabbit’s nest of problems for retailers and could very quickly find us in a situation where telco access requires dealing with two monopolies — Telstra and NBNCo.

One the disappointing things about the National Broadband Network has been the poor debate around the topic, indeed the whole debate at times has been wrong headed. Any hope it’s going to improve during the election campaign isn’t likely