Again, in the last week, I have come across a few reports and news items which are worth passing on.
These include first:
In 2007-08, 67% of Australian households had home Internet access and 75% of households had access to a computer. Between 1998 to 2007-08, household access to the Internet at home has more than quadrupled from 16% to 67%, while access to computers has increased by 31 percentage points to 75%.
In 2007-08, the number of households with a Broadband Internet connection increased by 22% from the previous year, to an estimated 4.3 million households. This represents over half (52%) of all households in Australia and 78% of households who have Internet access. A small proportion of respondents (1%) did not know the type of their internet connection at home.
The full report is here:
This is a useful summary of the present state of the use of the internet by ordinary Australians. Despite everything it seems adoption is really quite high and access to the Internet in some form near universal. This must help access to Personal Health Records and Health Information.
Second we have:
- Nick Miller
- December 18, 2008
WEEKS before his death last year, the world's first bionic ear recipient, Rod Saunders, told its inventor, Professor Graeme Clark, that the thing he missed most was music.
He used to sing in a choir. But while the cochlear implant restored his ability to understand speech, any music more complicated than a simple melody came through as a bewildering mess of noise.
More than 30 years on, Professor Clark believes a "hi-fi" bionic ear, allowing the deaf to hear music, is only a few years away. Such a prototype will also much better distinguish speech against a noisy background.
"Rod did miss music. He would have loved to be able to sing in the choir again," Professor Clark said yesterday. "But it's 'hearing in noise' that really kills deaf people with implants — and people with hearing aids. That's an ongoing challenge which we hope we can solve by giving high-fidelity hearing."
Yesterday he unveiled an early, animal-based prototype at La Trobe University, where he will lead the Graeme Clark Hearing and Neuroscience Unit in the university's School of Psychological Science.
It is amazing it is now thirty years since the work to create the bionic ear was done at Melbourne University’s Biomedical Engineering Department. This computer based technology has been a major boon to many indeed to say nothing of the export dollars it has bought to Australia.
Third we have:
Correspondents in San Francisco | December 17, 2008
MICROSOFT will release an emergency patch on Wednesday to fix a perilous software flaw allowing hackers to hijack Internet Explorer browsers and take over computers.
The US software giant said that in response to "the threat to customers" it immediately mobilised security engineering teams worldwide to deliver a software cure "in the unprecedented time of eight days."
According to researchers at software security firm Trend Micro, attacks based on the vulnerability in the world's most popular Web browser are spreading "like wildfire" with millions of computers already compromised.
Microsoft typically releases patches for its software on the second Tuesday of each month and rushing this fix to computer users out-of-cycle is testimony to the severe danger of the threat, according to Trend Micro.
"When the patch is released people should run, not walk, to get it installed," said Trend Micro advanced threat researcher Paul Ferguson.
More (including links to material) here:
The danger of a vulnerability such as this reminds us all of the importance of ensuring all internet exposed software is at current patch level and that regular backup are maintained.
Fourth we have:
Gentran Integration Suite will help standardise and simplify the department’s purchasing processes providing users with a platform for e-procurement
15 December, 2008 16:20:00
Melbourne – December 15, 2008 – Sterling Commerce, an AT&T Inc company, today announced it will supply a standards-based e-procurement hub solution to the New South Wales Department of Health (NSW Health).
Gentran Integration Suite (GIS), an integration platform for business-to-business (B2B) collaboration based on a service-oriented architecture (SOA) from Sterling Commerce, will help standardise and simplify the department’s purchasing processes providing users with a platform for e-procurement which will ultimately unlock greater quality, safety and efficiency benefits. It will replace a previous manual system, which was prone to human error, and provide the organisation with a single “source of truth” for all 30,000 internal items and potentially millions of vendor items purchased annually across the state.
GIS will provide effective business collaboration to enable NSW Health to extend secure, managed process visibility to suppliers and other government departments. Specifically, GIS will supply the department with the capability to maintain internal data for each product, while enabling receipt and management of vendor data via an on-line interface to the National Product Catalogue (NPC), an online datapool managed by GS1 Australia and administered to NSW Health by the National E-Health Transition Authority (NEHTA). The NPC allows institutions in all States and Territories to obtain essential information about the medicines, medical devices and healthcare products they use, from one electronic source. It also holds information about non-medical products, such as office supplies and food items.
Vendors not using the NPC will be able to add their term data directly into a web entry page. This form will enable one by one entry of term and pricing data or new items, changes to existing items and deletion of items. All new vendor data will be maintained in the vendor catalogue and updated automatically when additions or changes are submitted.
NSW Health users will be able to directly log-in to the catalogue, receive and manage contract data from NSW Commerce, and publish files to other systems, including the NSW Health Oracle ERP system and the Department of Commerce Smartbuy application.
This is real progress, once it is actually implemented, but has been a spectacularly long time in coming. I can remember discussions on such State-Wide procurement systems being held at least 20 years ago when I worked there. The slowness with which things happen is just amazing!
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - (HealthTech Wire / News) - iSOFT Health ANZ, a division of IBA Health Group (ASX:IBA) has appointed Denis Tebbutt as its managing director in its continued drive to build a solid management team to underpin its growth targets.
Denis was previously managing director of InterSystems Australia and New Zealand with responsibility for overseeing its expansion in the region including growth of its healthcare business. He joined InterSystems as managing director in 2002 and has 30 years sector experience gained in the UK, Europe, Asia and Australia.
I almost missed this announcement – did not seem to be noted in Australia – but clearly this is an appointment that is important to the Australian Health IT Market Place. (Usual disclaimer re my few IBA shares).
Sixth we have:
Big rallies take place around the country.
Darren Pauli 15/12/2008 09:41:00
Protests erupted across Australian capital cities on Saturday in opposition to the government's $70 million national clean feed Internet scheme, which will impose blanket content filtering for all Web connections.
The rallies, organised by members from activist groups including the Electronic Freedom Project and Digital Liberty Coalition (DLC), saw hundreds gather at Sydney's Town Hall, Brisbane Square, Melbourne's State Library, Adelaide Parliament House, Perth's Stirling Gardens and at Tasmania's Parliament Lawns to voice their opposition to the scheme.
Greens MP Scott Ludlam spoke at the Perth protests to a crowd of hundreds and questioned the need for national Internet content filtering scheme. Other speakers included members of Amnesty International, academics from state and national universities, the Electronic Frontiers Australia, and the Australia Sex Party.
I suspect the Government is going to have more of a fight on its hands about this issue. Clearly those who want a filtered Internet should be able to have it – and those who don’t should be able to access the Internet as it presently is. What I wonder about is the evidence base of the harm to the general public that has been caused by the unfiltered situation we have today that would actually be fixed by filtering, to be separated from the exited political huffing and puffing coming from Minister Conroy?
Last we have the slightly more technical note.
May the Force be with IT
Past and present: how 30 years of Star Wars imagination changed technology forever
Rodney Gedda (Techworld Australia) 18/12/2008 09:35:00
If you saw the first Star Wars film in 1978 you would have been dazzled by the awe inspiring technology the protagonists took for granted. Thirty years later and many of the film's forward-looking ideas – from videoconferencing and mobile communications to robotics and bionics – are being used in our daily lives.
During the next four months Sydney's Powerhouse Museum is playing host to one of the largest collection of Star Wars memorabilia combined with real-life examples of how such technology is being applied for business and social advancement.
The museum's computing and mathematics curator Matthew Connell helped develop the exhibition and, while not a self-confessed Star Wars aficionado, is very interested in comparing the science fiction to today's science fact.
Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination, took a year to set up in Australia and this is the first time it has travelled outside of the US. It was originally developed four years ago at the Museum of Science in Boston in conjunction with Lucasfilm.
“Unlike some of our staff and curators, I don't have a Storm Trooper outfit,” Connell said. “We had another Star Wars exhibition here some time ago and that was about the making of the film and that sort of thing. This is particularly different from that and while it has some artifacts in common, it is specifically about our shared understanding of this well-known movie and how this futuristic world can be used to stimulate thought about our future and how we might go and how science might get us there.”
Much more here:
A huge slide show is also available:
Click on the following link to see the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination slideshow
Just amazing to see how many ideas then are getting progressively closer..a nice optimistic way to end the news issues for the year!
More next week.