Geeks2U Promise
We guarantee you'll love our fast, friendly service - or we'll refund your money.  
133,572 Happy Customers & Counting
Need tech support?
1300 769 448
Extended hours, 7 days a week

Tag Archives: ABC

ABC’s iView app spells the death of the couch potato

Tags : 

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll recall the mascot of the “Life Be In It” campaign: Norm. Norm was fat, lazy, and essentially interested only in sitting in front of the TV eating pies and drinking beer. Norm was a character of the seventies, although the Life Be In It organisation that promoted him has stepped away from the Norm character in recent years for fear of emulation. For our own health, we should get up from the couch and get mobile.

A recently released application from the ABC might make the couch potato stereotype an obsolete historical oddity, offering TV in a mobile format. Sure, it’s not exactly a trip to the gym, but you’ve got to start somewhere, and TV addiction is a tough thing to beat.

For years, one of the promises of mobile television has been that it’ll be not only mobile but watchable and engaging, but for years all we’ve had is tiny little grainy screens and high data charges, making mobile TV rather off-putting. Most of the solutions have relied either on heavily compressed data or specific mobile broadcasting solutions that have so far failed to really take off.

ABC’s led the field in IP-based TV solutions with its Web-based iView catchup TV service, and last week launched an iPad version of the iView service. iPhone and Android versions are likely additions, although no timeline is promised. The application itself delivers smooth video playback across the iPad’s screen, and even on a moderate broadband connection I hit no real playback problems. The range of programs is naturally limited to the stuff that the ABC broadcasts, but there’s a wide library to pick from.

Unlike many of the stabs at mobile television of years gone past, the iView service simply uses the same internet protocols as your other internet applications (which is why it’s IPTV), so as long as your net connection stays up, so does your stream of Bananas In Pyjamas, or whatever suits your tastes. IPTV is slowly making its way worldwide as a way to deliver television services, especially as the quality of our internet connections improves. The UK equivalent of the ABC, the BBC, has announced plans to bring its iPlayer (which uses a similar technology platform to iView) to international viewers sometime next year on a subscription basis.

There are some catches for what we’ve got right now. The iView iPad application won’t run over 3G as yet, so you’re still stuck using it only in places where you have WiFi. Like many coffee shops, McDonald’s and your own home or office. Where, the thought strikes me, you’re normally sitting down and not getting all that fit.

Perhaps the couch potato isn’t quite dead yet.


Keep your brain in gear when using GPS

Tags : 

I’ve tested a lot of GPS units over the years — probably more than any other Australian tech journalist. That’s why a recent ABC story regarding a family of four that got trapped after following their GPS unit’s instructions (https://www.abc.net.au/news/2010-08-02/family-rescued-after-gps-blunder/928058) made my brain spin a bit. The family got bogged after driving down a closed road that the GPS indicated was the correct route. According to the ABC report, the driver ignored road closure signs to do so, and as a result got bogged in thick mud. Four days later, emergency services were able to tow them out.

While I’ve got sympathy for the family in that spending four days trapped with kids in a car can’t be much fun, that sympathy only goes so far. Yes, the GPS unit may have indicated that the closed road was the way to drive. It’s entirely possible the driver wasn’t familiar with the roads in question. I’ve certainly used GPS in places where I’ve had no road familiarity at all in the past, and will do so in the future. The majority of the problem, however, isn’t in the GPS. It’s in the person behind the wheel ignoring road signs and road rules.

Does that seem harsh? I don’t think so. A GPS is just a big electronic map. It’s not yet feasible to update maps on an absolutely dynamic level. In this case that would involve the local authorities noting on a database somewhere that the road in question was closed due to dangerous conditions, and that data being sent to every nearby GPS system. Currently GPS systems are limited by the data that was present when the maps were drawn up. In that context it’s exactly as smart as a paper map would have been. GPS systems can be smarter, though, as they’re capable of re-routing if you go the “wrong” way. I’ve certainly had a share of GPS units that have given wacky directions. Perhaps the most memorable was when driving back from Adelaide to Sydney, and having a GPS insist that the fastest possible route was via a small country town in Victoria. When I say small, though, that might be a bit of an understatement. I understand Melbourne’s quite bustling these days.

That was daft instruction, and the GPS system’s fault. I read the road signs, realised it was wrong and adjusted my driving accordingly. The GPS spent a very short while thinking I was driving the wrong way before adjusting its outlook and sending me on the right way. If I’m reviewing a unit I’ll certainly note its errors, as they should improve over time, but the correct thing to do isn’t to ignore road signs, road rules or common sense, in exactly the same way that you shouldn’t do when driving without a GPS. Most GPS systems can have maps updated on a regular basis, and many now come with multi-year map subscriptions. GPS systems can and do go wrong, but they don’t drive the car for you. The driver does. They’re an aid to driving, and a very pleasant one that I’d say still gets it right more often than having a badly folded map illegally wrapped around your legs while you try to navigate and drive could ever do.


Recent News

Statistically speaking, you’re probably running a Windows PC – it’s still the world’s most-used operating system, and not by a small margin, and it’s fairly likely you’re on Windows 10. With the recent removal of support for Windows 7 operating systems, it’s even more likely. Being big and popular means that most applications are written

Got a few computers in your office and you’re wondering how to share files, printers and internet between them? You need a network! No longer will you have to walk over to another computer just to share a document or wait for someone to get off a computer just to use the printer. There are

You can’t do much at all about the trackpad on your laptop in terms of usability and sensitivity for the most part, but what you can do if your trackpad won’t cut it – or if you just want more features or don’t like selecting with a flat pad – is buy yourself an external

A friend of mine recently went through an issue with his Facebook account. Unbeknownst to him, it was posting links to dodgy “investment” opportunities seemingly promoted by major Australian celebrities. Quick tip: If you see an investment “opportunity” on Facebook, run a mile. Maybe two or more, because they’re ALL scams, and, sadly enough they’re