Tag Archive | "IT"

Spotlight on fiddling with electronic devices during city council meetings.

Plan to police councillor iPad use

CHRIS THOMSON

A Cockburn city councillor has hatched a plan to police the use of iPads and iPhones by the council’s elected officials during council meetings.

Last month, Councillor Lee-Ann Smith proposed that an ‘electronic equipment usage policy’ be prepared and presented to a future Council Meeting.

Cr Smith’s wish became the command of city governance director Don Green who has now recommended such a policy be referred to a council committee to develop.

“Council issues electronic equipment to all elected members and executive staff for use at council and committee meetings,” Mr Green has penned in a report to his political masters.

“These devices are primarily provided for the purposes of accessing documentation forwarded to them by the city`s administration.

“One important document is the council meeting agenda, which is downloaded for viewing purposes and referral during the council meeting.

“However, Council does not have mechanism in place to regulate the usage of such devices (i.e. iPads and iPhones) during formal meetings, either by way of policy, or by reference in the standing orders local law.”

Mr Green’s recommendation is scheduled to be considered, probably with the assistance of a few iPads, at the city’s next council meeting on August 13.

Photo: ‘Tnvols2’, Wikimedia Commons

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Felines play in the same way as other Australians.

Cats and iPads do mix

STAFF REPORTER

Pets are increasingly being seen as equal to humans in many Australian households, and this is extending to cats using iPads to play.

RMIT University’s Professor Larissa Hjorth said a three-year study into the everyday gaming activities of Australians revealed people were playing electronic games devices – and so were their cats.

“When we started, we were not expecting to find anyone other than humans playing games but it seems their animals are joining in with them as well,’’ said Professor Hjorth, from the School of Media and Communication.

“We are all aware that some families have animals that are part of the family but when we began our research, we didn’t think the interaction between the humans and animals would extend to things like play and gaming.’’

“It’s a case of cats watching their family members and noticing when the games are about to start and wanting to join in.”

While the study initially found just one home where a cat played on an iPad, Professor Hjorth has since discovered more in Australia’s capital cities.

“It seems in some homes that cats are seen as equal members of the family and the relationship between humans and their animals now extends to play.’’

Drawing from her three-year ethnography into Australian households and their use of mobile gaming as part of broader socio-cultural practices, Professor Hjorth said playful media saturate our lives.

An artist and digital ethnographer, Professor Hjorth is exploring the connection between art, games and play at an exhibition in which audiences are invited to consider connections between contemporary and older forms of playful media.

The Art of Play connects the histories of play by exploring the entanglements between online and offline, and past and present.

The exhibition will be held at the Centre for Contemporary Photography, 404 George Street, in Fitzroy, Melbourne, until September 6.

Posted in WA NewsComments (0)

Consumers offered illegal inducement to enrol in courses.

No such thing as a free laptop

STAFF REPORTER

The state consumer protection agency is warning Western Australians, particularly those in remote and regional communities, about door-knockers offering ‘free’ laptops to people who sign up for courses.

Acting consumer protection commissioner David Hillyard says varying reports are being looked into and there’s a common theme that consumers are on a low-income and thought they were dealing with someone working for, or associated with, a government agency.

“Last month a number of people living in Broome were paid a visit by men they thought were offering free laptops in exchange for signing up for a training course,” Mr Hillyard said.

“Secure personal information including tax file numbers and copies of driver’s licences were taken.

“Generally, those who accepted the proposal did not receive paperwork in exchange making it very difficult for the local police or Consumer Protection to ascertain if the men are representing a training provider or if they are scammers.”

As well as complaints from the Kimberley, Consumer Protection is looking into reports from Midwest and Southwest WA regarding men knocking on doors and offering training courses, such as a diploma, with the promise of a free laptop.

“Because we’re unclear whether these men are from a legitimate organisation, we would urge people not to give secure, personal details such as tax file numbers or copies of driver’s licences, birth certificates, passports or even utility bills,” Mr Hillyard said.

“There are concerns that these consumers could be unknowingly signed up for a Commonwealth Government ‘Vocational Education and Training FEE-HELP’ loan, which is a debt that has to be repaid once your income reaches a certain level and can affect your credit rating.

“Since April, VET FEE-HELP training providers have been banned from offering enrolment inducements to students, so anyone promising a free laptop is breaking Federal Government rules around the loan-scheme and shouldn’t be trusted.”

Mr Hillyard encouraged people to do their homework before enrolling in any course.

Photo: ‘Olimpiaionele’, Wikimedia Commons 

 

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Free WiFi blankets Northbridge

STAFF REPORTER

Cafe-goers now have free WiFi coverage from the Perth Bell Tower to the Northbridge Piazza.

A City of Perth spokeswoman said it was now almost one year to the day that Perth became the first Australian capital city to offer free blanket WiFi coverage, and confirmed Northbridge would now be part of the free WiFi sweetspot.

“Covering a total area of approximately 50 hectares, what makes our network special is its blanket coverage – users can now walk from the Bell Tower to Northbridge Piazza without being disconnected,” the council spokeswoman said.

“There are other private companies offering hotspot based free WiFi in the city.

“However we want to give the people the freedom to explore our city while staying connected.”

The council has budgeted $150,000 a year for the next three years to improve and expand the network.

“Right now it is Northbridge and the CBD, and we are considering further expansion in these areas as well as other locations to the east and west of both major precincts,” the spokeswoman said.

 

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Facebook fends off ‘Friendbook’

CHRIS THOMSON

Planned trademarks of a dating website and a student networking group have been rejected in Australia because their names sound too much like ‘Facebook’.

Last month in Sydney, Australian Trade Marks Office hearing officer Jock McDonagh rejected a bid by international group FaceMBA LDA to register the ‘facemba’ trademark in Australia.

The facemba website says the group “connects MBA candidates, students, alumni and business schools, increasing the opportunities that the MBA community can offer in the business, academic and personal scopes”.

“Our mission is to provide a worldwide platform for online communication within the MBA community,” the website says.

The website also reveals that Facebook has opposed facemba’s existing trademark in Europe.

Back in Sydney, Mr McDonagh considered that deception or confusion with the Facebook mark was likely.

“Consumers confronted with a social networking platform with the prefix FACE- would be caused to wonder if it was associated with [Facebook],” he noted.

“This would be particularly so given that the [Facebook] services had their origins in the area of university students [in 2004].

“Consumers would naturally assume that [Facebook] might create a social network or offer other services directed to MBA students or graduates.”

Mr McDonagh refused the facemba application and awarded court costs to Facebook.

FRIENDBOOK

In a similar case decided in Melbourne in August, Facebook successfully opposed an application by Melbourne-based Northsword Pty Ltd to register the name ‘Friendbook’.

On behalf of Facebook, barrister Stephen Rebikoff successfully argued that due to similar services offered by both Facebook and Friendbook, the use of “book” preceded by a single syllable word beginning with the letter “F” would create an association in the mind of the public with the Facebook trade mark.

Counsel for Northsword argued, unsuccessfully, that Friendbook and Facebook were different trade marks as the intention of Friendbook was to “develop a friendship network of actual friends as opposed to the wide acceptance of people accepted on Facebook which purports to be a network of friends but is anything but a network of friends”.

The Northsword mouthpiece argued its was not open for Facebook to have a monopoly on any compound word containing the suffix “book”.

But hearing officer Bianca Irgang considered “a significant number of consumers would at the very least experience a reasonable doubt as to the existence of some sort of connection between” the Facebook and Friendbook trade marks.

Friendbook was set to offer online dating and social introduction services, and social escort agency services, among other things.

Ms Irgang refused to register the Friendbook trade mark, and awarded costs against Northsword.

Photo: Giuseppe Milo, Wikimedia Commons

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Free WiFi for Perth CBD

STAFF REPORTER

The Perth CBD will become the first in Australia to offer free WiFi across its entire area.

A City of Perth spokeswoman said the free WiFi would let visitors access their emails, social media accounts, maps and websites wherever they were in the CBD.

The free WiFi now covers the Perth CBD and public areas including St Georges Terrace, the Murray and Hay Street Malls, Forrest Place and nearby streets. Barrack Square and Stirling Gardens are also included in the coverage area.

“Free public WiFi is a key economic driver that will further enhance and encourage business and enable visitors to enjoy their city … even more,” the spokeswoman professed.

“… we will continue to expand this network over time to other … city precincts which will eventually include the Perth City Link area, Northbridge and East and West Perth.’

To tap the free Wifi:

  • on your computer, tablet or phone, select ‘Perth WiFi’ as the desired WiFi network. This option should be available under your device’s “’WiFi Settings’ menu;
  • if your web browser does not automatically open, open your web browser and the City of Perth landing page should appear;
  • click ‘Connect Me’;
  • start surfing that sweet, free internet.

For more information on the free Perth WiFi, hit Perth Wifi.

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Tweet for Rotto

CHRIS THOMSON

The Rottnest Island Authority is calling for a social media contractor to post nice things about it and the island on Facebook and Twitter.

A tender document published by the authority says the contractor will be required to “monitor, manage and promote the Rottnest Island image” on social media including Facebook and Twitter.

The contractor will be called upon to post and respond to social media comments, and promote “positive conversation” about the island.

Events, activities and functions will have to be promoted on behalf of the Rottnest Island Authority.

Aside from all that fun stuff, reports will need to be provided when requested by the Authority, including on any negative posts or Tweets or “noteworthy issues”.

The chosen contractor will also need to develop communication plans to promote the Authority’s work and “achievements”.

Tender responses are due with the Authority by November 19 at 11am.

Social media gurus wanting a slice of the action can call Lynn O’Hara on 0459 241 270 for details.

Original quokka photo: Sean Mack, Wikimedia Commons

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Free Wi-fi user bashed in square

STAFF REPORTER

A 37-year-old Seville grove man using free Wi-fi in a public square was bashed and relieved of his laptop and wallet last night.

Police spokesman Gerry Cassidy said the man reported being robbed in Kings Square, Fremantle at 9.40pm.

Sergeant Cassidy said the man had been sitting using his laptop with the free Wi-fi available in the squarte when the offender ran up to him and punched him in the face with a closed fist.

The man fell to the ground and the offender jumped on top of him and placed an arm across his throat.

He threatened the victim who handed over his wallet.

The assailant also took the man’s laptop and ran off.

The offender is 20 to 25 years of age, of fair complexion, 165 to 168 centimetres tall and of solid build.

He was with a second person described as 20 to 30 years old, of fair complexion, 180 to 185 cm tall and of slim build.

The victim had noticed the two men loitering in the park for about half an hour before he was bashed.

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FBI scam email alert

STAFF REPORTER

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has urged email users to beware of fake Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) emails that claim you have visited illegal websites.

The ACCC says anyone receiving such an email should delete it and definitely not open attachments or provide personal details.

The bogus email tells readers they have visited illegal websites and instructs them to answer a list of questions, often in an attached .zip file.

The email claims to come from an international crime investigation outfit such as the FBI or the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The ACCC warns that opening the attachment could infect readers’ computers with a virus or malware and give the scammer access to personal information such as online banking passwords.

People who answer the questions put themselves at risk of identity theft.

The ACCC urges anyone who receives such a scam email to report it to the US Internet Crime Complaint Center.

Scams can also be reported to the ACCC via the report a scam page or by calling 1300 795 995.

Posted in WA NewsComments Off on FBI scam email alert

Free Wi-Fi for Midland

STAFF REPORTER

All shoppers and cafe goers could potentially get free Wi-Fi access under a WA-first project being rolled out in Midland’s CBD.

Retailers and cafes that sign up to the free Making Midland Connect program will score free wireless internet for their customers during a 12 month trial period.

The initiative is the brainchild of Swan city council and the local chamber of commerce.

The CBD-wide move follows the introduction of free Wi-Fi in the Northbridge Piazza and the recent designation of central Midland as a seven-day shopping zone.

Posted in Bar & Cafe News, EastComments (1)


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