Freeview Australia's FUD campaign turns on Dvico
By Adam TURNER
After deliberately confusing Australians over the nature of Freeview, Freeview Australia has mounted a legal attack on Dvico for using the Freeview UK logo.
The Australian Freeview campaign has been built around Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt. Rather than offering consumers a wide range of new services, it's basically a rebranding of existing services designed to trick/scare people into buying Freeview-branded equipment that doesn't allow ad-skipping or recordings to be easily copied off the device.
Naturally there has been some confusion with the Freeview UK campaign, not helped by the fact Freeview Australia adopted an almost identical logo. In Australia, the Freeview campaign has benefited from such confusion as people assumed the local service would match the breadth of the UK offering.
Meanwhile Dvico has been selling its Tvix range of PVRs for several years. Admittedly they might not be the best PVRs on the market, but one of their key strengths is flexibility. They're also one of the few devices to work with Australia's IceTV electronic program guide, which was forced to fight off a major legal challenge from the Nine Network.
As a product available in many countries, Dvico's Tvix range naturally displays the Freeview UK logo. It's certainly not the only digital television equipment on sale in Australia to display the Freeview UK logo.
After the Australian launch of the TViX M-6600N Personal Video Recorder this week, Freeview Australia has the nerve to demand that Dvico remove the Freeview UK logo from its packaging. Dvico has not licenced the Freeview Australia logo, nor is it likely to considering it would be forced to disable many of the best features in its PVRs in order to get Freeview Australia certification. This still doesn't give Freeview Australia the right to demand Dvico remove the Freeview UK logo, considering Dvico's PVRs are compliant with the Freeview UK system.
Freeview Australia deliberately created confusion around the Freeview branding and is now using the confusion to harass vendors such as Dvico. Sources tell me Dvico is yet to decide whether to remove the Freeview UK logo from its packaging and materials. This latest attack in Freeview Australia's FUD campaign is yet another reason for Australians to ignore the Freeview logo when they go shopping for digital television gear.
UPDATE Oct 21:
Sydney - 21 October, 2009 - DViCO today announced that it will not be seeking endorsement from Freeview (Australia). Although the products currently carry the Freeview UK logo and all marketing material currently displays this, it will remove that logo from materials and packaging used in Australia to avoid confusion.
Steve Xiao, managing director of Also Technology, the exclusive distributor in Australia for DViCO products, commented: “The DViCO products offer an exceptional all in one solution for the home media market. We don’t believe Australian consumers would want to miss out on the product’s abilities such as ad skipping which we believe would have to be disabled if we sought Freeview Australia endorsement.”
Freeview launched in October 2002 in the UK and provides free-to-air digital TV channels, radio stations and interactive services through an aerial. Freeview is managed by DTV Services Ltd, a company owned and run by its five shareholders - BBC, BSkyB, Channel 4, ITV and Arqiva.
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Office 2004 support extended
By Stephen WITHERS
One of the most common reasons I've heard for staying with Microsoft Office 2004 rather than updating to Office 2008 has been a reliance on VBA (Visual Basic for Applications; Office's internal scripting system).
While Office 2008's improved support for AppleScript was welcome, it did nothing for those that rely on VBA macros. And VBA is particularly important in a mixed Mac/Windows environment.
One problem was that mainstream support for Office 2004 was scheduled to end on Tuesday (October 13, 2009).
Microsoft has now announced that mainstream support will be extended to January 10, 2012 - precisely because VBA wont' return to Office for Mac until the next version, which is due in late 2010.
Actually, moving from mainstream support to extended support isn't that big a deal.
When a product goes into extended support, Microsoft still provides security updates, paid support, and online information.
All that goes away are non-security patches, no-charge incident support (which you probably wouldn't qualify for anyway at this stage), and "design changes and feature requests" (again, that doesn't really apply to an old product like Office 2004 anyway).
Office 2004 holdouts will probably be reassured by the news, but it isn't as significant as some reports seem to imply.
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Ads - a necessary evil, but oh please people, raise your game!
By David HAGUE
Of late, another commentary list I am in involved in has been debating the validity - or not - of pop up ads on websites. You know, those ones that you don't expect that override the text your trying to read or worse, become a video blaring their message at you and it's up to you, to find the off button that is cleverly positioned where you don't expect to find it.
I too detest these ads; there are a few news based websites that are particularly guilty. But I am pragmatic enough to understand that - sad as it is - ads are a necessary evil that allow people to get paid. I am a publisher. I understand these things
But as a writer, I cannot understand the quality of the ad, both in words and visual content. The majority are abysmal! Who thinks of this stuff? Yes there are a few ads that are clever, and a few that inform. But the majority treat us as idiots, morons and think we would believe anything.
And which ad agency(s) are silly enough to either a) let themselves be bullied into allowing the client's principal to be the 'front man' (as in new car dealerships etc) or b) actually suggest the principal should be the front man.
TV and radio are the main culprits, but history says that 'new media' will probably follow suit.
Gawd save us ...
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Is the Aussie book business ready for the Kindle?
By Ian GRAYSON
It has a loyal fan base in the United States, and now the world’s most popular e-book reader is heading Down Under. Is your local bookshop ready?
They’re about the size of a single paperback novel yet can store the texts of 1500 different books.
Touted as the future of reading, Kindle book readers will soon be available in Australia and, once they are, will change the publishing playing field forever.
As is the case for American users, Australian Kindle owners will be able to download books wirelessly via a mobile phone network. Feel like diving into the latest Dan Brown novel? No need to head for the book store – just download it and start reading.
The impact on existing book retailers is obvious, but it’s hard to see what sort of response they might have. How do you compete against a system that steals your customers away and then serves them in a completely different way?
While I’m not suggesting Kindle sales will lead to bookshop closures overnight, once their numbers reach a critical mass, the impact on sales of physical books will be swift and savage.
Naturally, there will always be a group of people who prefer the tactile experience of turning paper pages as they enjoy a story or learn about a new subject. But the other group, which is happy to experience words electronically, will rapidly grow.
As well as retailers, electronic books will also have a big effect on publishers. Indeed, it’s easy to see a situation where authors could bypass them altogether. Just as the internet has allowed content producers to have a 1-1 relationship with internet users, so e-book devices could do the same thing to the link between writers and book lovers.
The next 12 months will be a very exciting time for readers, writers and the publishing industry. What shape the ecosystem will take is anyone’s guess.
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Fighting Workreation - separate computers for work and play?
By Adam TURNER
Do you need to step away from your day-to-day computing workhorse to strike a work/life balance?
As someone who works from home, generally sitting on the couch or at the kitchen table with my MacBook, I really struggle to strike a balance between work and the rest of my life. You know what I do after hours to relax? I sit on the couch or at the kitchen table with my MacBook. My job is to tinker with technology and then talk about it, but that's also my hobby.
Even though sometimes I know in my mind that I'm just reading the paper on my MacBook or catching up on Dilbert, to everyone else it looks like I'm still working. To be honest, I am. Even when I'm using my MacBook for so-called recreational purposes I'm still keeping tabs on my work inbox, Twitter and Google News. Inversely, even when I'm supposedly working I'm checking Facebook and my private email, plus reading the paper. To be honest, there is no line between work and play for me. I never go to work, but I never have a day off. I was going to invent a word for it, but it seems there already is one; Workreation. It sounds like the dream scenario but, in the long run, I'm convinced permanent Workreation is not good for you.
I've long suspected that one strategy to fight permanent Workreation is to have separate computers for work and play. I was discussing my Workreation issues with a friend this week, who also struggles with work/life balance, and he said he'd read something suggesting the idea of separate computers. I was thrilled to hear that it wasn't just my crazy idea.
I've got half a dozen old desktop PCs lying around the house, but for me a recreational computer would have to be portable. Sometimes my iPhone can meet that need, and I've started to put a few good games on it for when I need to chillax. Other times computer-based recreational activies require something bigger.
If Apple sold a netbook/tablet I'd probably snap one up in a heartbeat. As it is I've considered getting a netbook and dual-booting Hackintosh with Windows 7, but I keep telling myself a) I can't afford it b) I don't need it and c) I'd end up using my MacBook anyway. It might be time to reconsider.
I thought something like Asus' T91 swivel-screen netbook might do the trick but, after an initial play, I'm not sure. I can see Asus has put a lot of work into a large, touchscreen-friendly interface, but Internet Explorer 7 is still a painfully clunky user experience - especially in portrait mode. The T91 is crying out for Windows 7 and a browser skin designed specifically for portrait touchscreen use, so you can use the T91 like an eBook. Perhaps Firefox might be more flexible. I'm looking for the kind of thing a Star Trek ensign would hand to the captain, listing the week's duty roster.
Asus' T91 shows a lot of potential and, maybe with some tweaking, I can turn it onto the machine of my dreams (at least until we get an Apple tablet which will naturally drip with usability). I definitely need to do something to separate work from play.
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