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    Cross the deep Blu-ray sea

    28/05/2019 - Author: admin

    I walked into a big electrical retailer last week and asked for a disc player that would play American Blu-ray discs and also local ones. The guy told me it was illegal to sell such a player. At the next store I was told there was no such thing. And at the one after that, the salesman sold me one.
    Nanjing Night Net

    Purely out of interest, I asked at a few more places. One salesman told me they used to sell them but were forced by law to stop. Another said they had none and wouldn’t sell them if they had – the fascinating point being that there was a stack of them behind him.

    I guess the lesson is that if you want to play American Blu-rays, you’ll need to exercise dogged persistence. There are certainly players around that do it, but in finding them you do start feeling a bit grubby, sort of as if you’re trying to buy drugs.

    Toshiba has several multi-region-capable players but they need a separate firmware upgrade that some retailers will give you for free, while others won’t.

    If not, you can find the download and instructions in mere seconds online. You load the upgrade just once, but every time you want to change Blu-ray regions you must go into the set-up menu and enter a code.

    Laser freely advertises multi-region Blu-ray players on its website and even on the boxes.

    There’s also a local internet retailer selling players it assures customers are multi-region Blu-ray capable, but you have to first buy the unit and then go through customer service to get an unlock code. Forgive our cynicism, but that worries us a little.

    Or you can buy a Blu-ray player from the US and play your American discs on that (you’ll need a step-down transformer), and use your existing Blu-ray player for local ones.The US option

    About $150

    American Blu-ray players are made for Region A Blu-ray discs (we’re Region B), so buying a player from there means access to American discs. We saw a Sony BDP-S1100 for $US75 ($75.85) plus postage on one US website (several local retailers have it at $99). However, the American machine needs a 110-volt power supply and will fry if plugged into Australian 240-volt mains power, so you’ll need a step-down transformer offered by Jaycar and Dick Smith, among others, for about $50. Some internet sellers, such as Amazon, won’t send an American player to an Australian address.Toshiba BDX3200KY

    Spotted for $169, toshiba南京夜网.au

    Toshiba has Blu-ray players that can be made multi-region capable. Ask the retailer – some are still handing out the firmware upgrade disc. If not, you’ll find the software on the internet. From then on, you’ll need to go into ”set-up” and enter a code whenever you want to swap regions. It’s actually quicker than it sounds. The BDX3200KY is a premium Toshiba and a terrific player for the money, with 3D and high-definition upscaling. It gets BD Live through an ethernet cable. The image quality is crisp and fast and Blu-ray sound is fabulous. It’s quick to crank up, too.Laser BD1000

    Spotted for $99,www.laserco.net

    To change Blu-ray regions, you go into the set-up menu and enter a code. There’s no firmware upgrade but everything is in the handbook. This is the cheapest of the three Blu-ray players Laser says are multi-region capable. It packs a lot for the money, including full-HD video upscaling and a USB on the fascia, and it comes with a month of unlimited movie rental from Quickflix. The picture and sound quality are good for the money but there’s no resume function and no internet connectivity.Verdict

    Changing the region on the Toshiba and the Laser involves mucking around, but it works. The Laser is the easiest to get working, but if you make the effort with the Toshiba, you’ll note the quality increase and its operating superiority. With these two machines available locally, the US option is overkill, but will appeal to purists.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    A Galaxy far, far away

    - Author: admin

    The launch of Samsung’s Galaxy S4 presented a familiar moral conundrum: how could we justify ditching the Samsung Galaxy SIII – a perfectly good smartphone that had never faltered in the 10 months we’d owned it, unlike two iPhones in the family that had been replaced in roughly the same span – for the new Samsung unit?
    Nanjing Night Net

    Having been branded a ”gadget-obsessed spendthrift” by the chancellor of the household exchequer, we might have spent weeks coaxing the funds out of the joint account. There were, of course, so many productivity-enhancing elements in the new model to support our case. And also, if we put the SIII up on eBay, we could recoup some of the cost.

    It seemed a reasonable investment, given the enhanced productivity one could surely expect from the S4’s larger five-inch HD Super AMOLED screen and faster quad-core processor, additional battery life and it’s ability to respond to finger-hovering (Air View) and hand gestures (Air Gesture).

    If those arguments didn’t work, we planned to deploy the convenience of the S4’s WatchON app. We would never again have to disturb the chancellor’s recreational time by asking her to help us find the TV or Foxtel remote, because WatchON can control both.

    It was at that point of our preparations that our subconscious mind stepped in and contrived to allow us to lose the SIII while going through security at Sydney Airport, little more than a week before the S4 hit the street. It might have cost us some cash, but it gave us one of those compelling arguments so necessary for the advance of technology.

    Too bad our subconscious mind hadn’t stepped in previously to back up the SIII, which would have made setting up the S4 so much easier.

    Instead, we had to fire up Google’s Play Store and download all our apps and then adjust the settings – and immediately back everything up to the PC, using Samsung’s Kies software, which we generally don’t use for simple file transfers because it’s so easy to plug in the USB cable and drag and drop between folders using Windows Explorer, or Directory Opus, which we use as our Windows file manager.

    It underlined again our affection for some key Android apps that have substantially enhanced our enjoyment of the platform, since we moved away from the iPhone.

    The first is SwiftKey, a predictive keyboard from Britain-based TouchType Ltd, which makes the iPhone keyboard look second-rate in comparison.

    The SwiftKey prediction engine learns how you write from your usage and, if you allow it, the history of your Gmail and social networking accounts, allowing it to accurately predict your next word. Increasingly these days, it offers us the correct word after we’ve entered a single letter. And its Flow feature, which lets the user write words without lifting the finger from the keyboard, and, indeed, enter entire phrases by gesturing to the space bar, is even more uncanny.

    Last week’s update, SwiftKey 4.1, offers some new keyboard themes, among a range of other improvements.

    Another useful app is the free Snapdragon BatteryGuru. It gives users of Android devices powered by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon processor a range of options to improve battery performance, in essence stopping ad hoc refreshing by apps, which consumes both data and battery power.

    BatteryGuru takes a couple of days to learn how you use your device. It then applies the information to reduce unnecessary background activity. Once it knows which hot spots you use, for instance, it turns wi-fi on only when necessary, rather than letting it burn battery power by constantly trying to find a connection.

    You can manually override the interval for specific apps, which you might want to do in the case of Gmail or for chats with Google Hangouts – the replacement for Google Talk, which has just become available for iOS devices – as well as Android and the Chrome web browser.

    In the meantime, we have just started playing with Apex Launcher Pro as a replacement for Samsung’s TouchWiz.

    We would love to hear what Android applications our readers regard as indispensable. The chancellor might even allow us to buy some.

    [email protected]南京夜网.au

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Telstra cuts jobs amid market woes

    - Author: admin

    The changes will be the “most substantive” for 10 years: Telstra Chief Operating Officer Brendon Riley. Photo: Rob Gunstone Customer confidence is unpredictible: Chief Executive of Myer Bernie Brookes. Photo: Matthew Piper
    Nanjing Night Net

    Telstra is poised to make deep cuts to its 30,000 strong Australian workforce, amid a slump in consumer confidence and falling mining investment.

    The telecommunications giant unveiled a sweeping overhaul of the divisions that contain half its staff on Wednesday, in a move that could lead to substantial job losses.

    The announcement came as federal Treasury and the new Parliamentary Budget Office blamed both sides of politics for Australia’s slide into a structural budget deficit – a deficit Treasury warns is now likely to remain for another six years.

    The news was a blow to government hopes that jobs growth would pick up outside the mining sector. Record low interest rates have so far failed to reignite the economy and the latest data will add to pressure for further rate cuts.

    The government’s official commodity forecaster confirmed the resources investment boom had already peaked this year.

    Cost blowouts had caused $150 billion worth of projects to be scrapped or delayed in the past year, the Bureau of Resources and Energy Economics said, as it predicted mining investment would decline from its current level of $268 billion from now on.

    The Westpac Melbourne Institute index of consumer sentiment dropped by 7 per cent this month, from 104.9 to 97.6, a level where pessimists outnumber optimists.

    The fall, which came despite this month’s cut in interest rates, was blamed on a budget that removed key benefits from households and forecast deficits until 2015-16.

    It comes as the chief executive of Myer, Bernie Brookes, said that consumer confidence was patchy and there were no signs of a significant turnaround in overall sentiment.

    ”This is not a heyday for discretionary retail,” Mr Brookes said. ”We’ll continue to invest, getting ready for the consumer to come back but the budget as evidenced by the consumer sentiment is not particularly good.”

    Although the overall reading of confidence fell sharply, a sub-index on whether now is a good time to buy a house jumped by more than 10 per cent in the month and is up by a fifth in the past year.

    In its debut research paper, the budget office estimates that Australia will still be in significant budget deficit in 2016-17, even though the budget papers forecast a $6.6 billion surplus by then.

    If so, the paper says, it would be only because mineral export prices remain unusually high, swelling tax revenues. It predicts the structural balance – which assumes long-run average prices and levels of activity – will then be in deficit by between $5 billion and $28 billion.

    In a separate paper, Treasury gives similar estimates, saying the budget will remain in structural deficit until 2018-19, three years after it is officially forecast to be in surplus.

    Telstra would not say how many jobs would be affected by the changes, but its chief operating officer Brendon Riley described the move as the ”most substantive changes for 10 years”. It will brief union officials next week.

    with Glenda Kwek and Peter Cai

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Superhero puts fitness company in its place in trademark battle

    - Author: admin

    Superman: Trademarked tighter than his lycra suit.He’s faster than a speeding bullet, more powerful than a locomotive, can leap tall buildings in a bound, and now Superman has claimed victory in a Federal Court case.
    Nanjing Night Net

    High up in the towering law courts in Sydney, DC Comics went to fight for Superman’s good name, appealing a decision allowing a fitness company to register ”superman workout” as a trademark.

    Justice Annabelle Bennett on Wednesday found in favour of the superhero, ordering the application for Cheqout to use Superman’s name be refused.

    The case went deep into Superman’s history, dealing with everything from philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s ”Ubermensch”, the original comic strip character from 1938 to a mysterious earlier figure by Superman creators Jerry Siegel and Joe Schuster who was actually a villain.

    Justice Bennett considered several meanings of the word ”superman”, including the Macquarie Dictionary’s definition, which refers to Nietzsche’s concept of ”an ideal human being who by virtue of greater spiritual powers rises above the usual notions of good and evil”.

    This definition also lists the character introduced in the comics, while the Oxford English Dictionary describes ”an almost invincible superhero having the power to fly and typically depicted wearing a tight blue suit with a red cape”.

    The judge found that when Cheqout applied to use the trademark last July, it did so in ”bad faith”, having used ”Superman” with a shield symbol and the colours red, white and blue.

    In July a delegate for the Registrar of Trade Marks ruled there would be no confusion between the workout classes and Superman because DC Comics itself had never conducted fitness clinics.

    DC Comics appealed on the grounds that ”superman workout” would be ”likely to deceive or cause confusion”, and that Superman had ”acquired a reputation” in Australia.

    Justice Bennett concluded: ”I am satisfied that at the date of application for the trademark, Cheqout’s conduct fell short of the standards of acceptable commercial behaviour observed by reasonable and experienced persons.”

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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    Telstra to axe jobs in major shake-up

    - Author: admin

    Significant job losses are expected at Telstra after the telco announced sweeping changes to its operational structure.
    Nanjing Night Net

    About half of Telstra’s domestic workforce of 30,000 is affected by the changes – which were announced to staff via the company’s intranet – being rolled out by July 1.

    As the company shifts from its legacy copper network and phone directories businesses, it will concentrate on high-growth areas such as wireless networks, the national broadband network and cloud computing, while cutting back on loss-making areas such as the Sensis directory business.

    Chief operations officer Brendon Riley described the move as the ”most substantive changes for 10 years”. He said Telstra would continue to drive improvements in core businesses and increase investment in growth businesses such as network application services, cloud and media assets.

    ”Our traditional businesses are coming under increasing margin pressure and the largest portion of our budget is spent supporting them. This is not a sustainable business model and we have an obligation to redefine our contributions to Telstra,” Mr Riley told staff on Wednesday.

    One of legacy businesses, the YellowPages directory, was once a cash cow but has been under pressure as people turn to internet search engines. Telstra slashed 648 jobs from Sensis in February.

    The so-called rivers of gold that once flowed from Telstra’s monopoly hold over the copper wire network are expected to ease as the introduction of the national broadband network gathers pace.

    The overhaul is expected to produce a cut in Telstra’s headcount at home as it expands overseas, in Asia in particular. The company

    refused to comment specifically on the number of jobs to be lost.

    ”I anticipate that we will be creating efficiencies which will mean we have jobs that will go in certain areas but on the other hand there is investment in jobs creation that we need to do,” Mr Riley said. But he admitted the job number was likely to be down overall.

    Telstra has cut about 2500 roles over the past year. At the end of December the telco had a total workforce of 38,663.

    It will reorganise its operations into five groups, Mr Riley said, and three of them – IT solutions, networks, and customer service delivery – will be new.

    Two existing operational units, covering the telco’s work with and for the national broadband network and Telstra’s new growth engine – network applications and services, which manages data for business customers – will be retained.

    This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

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