Could Bitcoin Become Currency in Australia?

Australia has begun a government enquiry which could lead to Bitcoin becoming a legitimate currency within the country. The Senate Economics References Committee is considering making the cryptocurrency a regular tender, with the same standing as regular money, for the purpose of Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The review contradicts the position of the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), which only last year determined Bitcoin to be a commodity, rather than legal tender or legitimate currency, and as such was liable for taxation under GST laws. That decision caused a number of Australian startups to threaten migration to another country.

The Senate Economics References Committee, though, has now criticised the ATO’s position, warning that it had placed “an additional burden on Australian digital currency businesses.”

“Without a doubt, the main benefit will be the confidence and certainty that removing a GST will provide to our own digital entrepreneurs, and the foreign businesses who want to set up here,” Labor Senator Sam Dastyari, chair of the committee, said. “Most importantly, it will send the message to local tech entrepreneurs that their government is listening to them, and that in itself is a major step forward.”

The committee’s review has been hailed as a positive step toward supporting new and existing tech businesses in Australia. “Sam Dastyari is recognising the growth potential of innovative technology, and I take it as a sane step towards the only sensible interpretation of the GST legislation,” said Chris Mountford, a developer at Atlassian, one of many companies that lobbied the committee to support Bitcoin. “[The ATO’s ruling] was going to be a barrier for startups, not for Bitcoin. Bitcoin was going to succeed despite Australia.”

Thank you Mashable for providing us with this information.

Aidmics to Release Fertility Gadget For Your iPad

This story is certainly not going to be a typical iPad feature, but I can promise you it’s unique. iPads are versatile and can be used to run a multitude of applications for a vast array of industries. You know the phrase “think outside the box” Well, Taiwanese startup by the name of Aidmics has invented a device which connects to an iPad with the aim to measure sperm.

I know, I can hear the editor of eTeknix crying as well, but let’s continue, Aidmics is hoping to cash in on the $40 billion global human fertility market with the iPad compatible gadget. The early concept of this design has been sold to livestock farmers, with the outcome being 200 sets sold since August 2014. The aim for this product is to re-market the device for the commercial mainstream.

The price point at which this device is to be sold to the general public would be between $100 – $200 (£64 – £128), so how does it work? Well, I did research this and I do wonder what Google now thinks of me, but it operates by utilizing a tiny microscope which enlarges the contents of a few drops of sperm from inside a pipette which is backlit. The light beams the moving image to the iPad camera, and algorithms then analyse the sample for total sperm count and motility and how fast sperm can swim; more details are below.

It’s a useful invention which does have real world potential to assist couples in their quest to have a child, but woe betide anyone who has their iPad hacked into.

Thank you Aidmics and Reuters for providing us with this information.

Metaio, AR Startup Reportedly Joins Apple

An Augmented Reality startup, Metaio has reportedly been acquired by Apple. The startup defines itself as “pioneer in augmented reality and computer vision” has managed to pull off a number of great projects for big clients like Ferrari, Volkswagen and Ikea. Their technologies enable you to know much more about the features in a much more intuitive way such as knowing the aerodynamics and apply different colors on cars in the showroom, possibilities are limitless. Apple is looking forward to securing its future in the department of Virtual Reality ( AR is not VR ), but Apple has been spotted posting job listing for Virtual Reality jobs and it already filed a patent for a device like VR headset that works with an iPhone.

Techcrunch has managed to obtain legal documents which show a transfer of shares from Metaio, an augmented reality to Apple on May 21st/22nd. Apple has confirmed the acquisition by responding “Apple buys smaller technology companies from time to time, and we generally do not discuss our purpose or plans.” This development has affected the company’s products offerings as they have stopped selling them and the tech support will end on June 30.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DT5Wd8mvAgE

Thank you Techcrunch for providing us with this information.

Stephen Hawking Reveals His Thoughts About Artificial Intelligence

If you are thinking about a Terminator scenario when hearing the word ‘advanced artificial intelligence’, then you are not alone. Stephen Hawking makes his own predictions and states that artificial intelligence will overtake humans in just 100 years. This does not necessarily mean we will become extinct or enslaved by AI, but we do have to tread carefully when it comes to this technology.

“Computers will overtake humans with AI at some within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours.” Stephen Hawking stated. “Our future is a race between the growing power of technology and the wisdom with which we use it.” he added.

To put it plainly, it means that technology advances so fast that we can barely get a grip on it. This is why Hawking warns companies who deal with AI technology should take it down a notch and coordinate with others operating in the same field.

However, we may have went past that point today. Reports show that over 150 startup companies in Silicon Valley are already working on AI and more are expected to enter the latter area of research in the future too.

I tend to agree with Hawking’s last paragraph because let’s face it, in the end we will be speaking to a fully conscious machine sooner or later. But it is how we react to it and it reacts to us that will make the decisive moment.

Thank you Tech World for providing us with this information

Microsoft Adds ‘Energy Saver’ Feature to Its Xbox One Consoles

Customers who buy a new Xbox One console will be greeted by a new screen after booting the device. This will prompt the user to choose between “instant-on” and “energy-saving” power modes, having the default be instant-on in the US up until now.

The power-consuming option lets the console download updates and content while not in use, while also providing a way for users to wake it up by yelling at it. However, the National Resource Defense Council openly criticised the Xbox One’s always-on power option.

“Although Microsoft reduced the power drain from its ‘instant-on’ mode from 18 watts to 12.5 watts, the mode is still the default when it comes out of the box and the user is not even given the option to disable it during the initial setup,” the NRDC wrote.

Current Xbox One users are also able to make the switch by going to the “Power & Startup” section in Settings. Also, Microsoft states that the new energy-saving feature can save players an average of $6 to $15 per year in the US.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information

Battery Startup Given $17 Million Boost, Lead by Samsung

Battery startup Seeo, of Hayward, California, has secured a $17 million Series E investment in the latest round of funding, lead by Samsung Ventures, and featuring contributions from existing investors Khosla Ventures and GSR Ventures.

Seeo has developed a lithium-ion battery that is more efficient and less flammable than traditional battery technology. It uses a solid polymer for its electrolyte, rather than the flammable liquid used as the electrolyte solution in other batteries. The polymer also offers greater efficiency, with Seeo hoping to build a cell that can hold 400 Watt-hours per kilogram. For contrast, the battery in a Tesla Model S has an energy density of 240 Wh/kg.

Hal Zaram, CEO of Seeo, says that the investment will be used to expand the company’s manufacturing plant in Hayward. Zarem hopes to have the new battery available by the third quarter of 2015.

Source: Wired

15 Year Old Cashes in $100,000 Thanks to Bitcoin and Launched a Startup

Erik Finman is the 15 year old founder of Botangle, an online education program designed to link students with instructors across the globe. He’s said to be following in similar footsteps to his mentor, Alexis Ohanian, who started the ever-growing online platform Reddit at the young age of 22.

After being inspired by Ohanians book “Without Their Permission: How the 21st Century Will Be Made, Not Managed”, Finman cashed in a $1,000 check from his Grandma and invested it in the online currency, Bitcoin.

A pretty daring move for someone at only 15 years of age you could say. Ohanian agreed in an interview with CBS News:

“I’m shocked by Erik’s success at this age, compared to where I was”

However, Finman went in with full confidence:

“I just thought it was an amazing tool, and it was going to be really big,” Finman said. “I hit the jackpot.” CBS News

As the title explains, his jackpot reached a total of $100,000. But why stop there? Finman was frustrated by being stuck in school in Idaho, where he was experiencing a lack of interesting subjects to quench his learning thirst – his solution being Botangle.

Botangle gives registered members a place to keep in contact with instructors and learn about almost any subject they wish, ranging from languages to science.

After Botangle’s launch in May, there are now more than 1,700 registered users and employs 20 people full-time.

Finman commented:

“You can choose to register as a student and learn something, or become an instructor and teach something. I wanted it so that any person like me, who doesn’t have the same opportunities as someone living in a really nice school district, can go on my site and learn anything they want.” CBS News

Image courtesy of Business Insider

High-Definition Holograms Might Hit The Market As Early As Next Year

When thinking about holograms, the first thought is about movies and science-fiction books where most have encountered the described technology for the first time, knowing it is just a fictional technological thought or concept. A startup company based in California tends to change this in a fairly small amount of time.

Ostendo is a company claiming to have solved the problems faced with hologram technology with the help of 5,000 PPI projectors measuring in at just about the size of a Tic Tac. The projectors are said to be able to control the colour, brightness and angle of individual beams of light across 1,000,000 pixels.

The company states that one chip is capable of delivering a usable image, but multiple chips are said to make room for even more complex and detailed images. Recent news indicate that The Wall Street Journal received a demo of this amazing technology, having it beam green dice spinning in the air.

Though the technology is still in its early stages, the company is said to deliver a chip capable of rendering 2D images on a surface of up to 48-inches at first. However, Hussein S. El-Ghoroury, the founder of Ostendo, stated that the company will be able to produce a chip capable of rendering “consistent” 3D objects in mid-air just months after the first chip’s release.

The technology did not go unnoticed, having already stirred the attention of some major handset manufacturers. Also, Ostendo is already looking forward into enhancing the product by reducing the pixel size to be able to boost the image resolution of its holograms, as well as thinking of ways to embed its technology into TVs, smartwatches and even tablets.

Thank you Endgadget for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Endgadget

Hide Your Windows, Mac And Linux Devices, ‘Cause Java-based Malware Is Coming!

We have seen similar incidents in the past, may it be ad-related such as the Yahoo! incident, or directly involving the Java platform. It has been reported that a Java-based malware bot is currently ‘roaming’ around, infecting all three major operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X and Linux.

Researchers have revealed a fragment of botnet malware that is capable of infecting the latter mentioned OSes, being a cross-platform HEUR:Backdoor.Java.Agent.a, having been reported in a blog post published by Kaspersky Lab. It reportedly takes control of computers by exploiting CVE-2013-2465, a critical Java vulnerability which Oracle patched last June.

The Java vulnerability is said to be present on Java 7 Update 21 and earlier versions. Once the malware has infected the computer, it copies itself to the autostart directory of its respective platform to ensure it runs at every startup. Compromised computers then report to an Internet relay chat channel that acts as a command and control server.

It is reportedly designed to generate Distributed-Denial-of-Service, or DDnS, which targets the attacker wants to designate as a ‘target’, having it packed with ‘features’ such as setting the IP address, port number, intensity, and duration of attacks. The malware is said to be written entirely in Java, allowing it to run on Windows OS X and Linux machines. To make matters even worse, the bot incorporates PircBot, an IRC programming interface based on Java.

In addition to all that, the malware also is said to use Zelix Klassmaster obfuscator to prevent it from being reverse engineered by whitehat and competing blackhat hackers. Apart from obfuscating bytecode, Zelix encrypts some of the inner workings of the malware. It is extremely recommended to update to the latest Java 7 Update 51 found on Oracle’s official website here.

Thank you arstechnica for providing us with this inforamtion
Image courtesy of arstechnica

Facebook Acquires ‘Onavo’ To Help Improve Web Efficiency

Data is important, especially when it comes to mobile devices where users are often limited on how much they use per month, how fast they can download that data and of course how much that data costs to transmit. With mobiles these days capable or churning through gigabytes of data per month and consumer demand ever growing, it has never been so important to keep a tab on that usage.

Onavo have been helping consumers track data usage for years now, which is exactly why Facebook has just scooped up the Israeli startup in a bid to reduce their own data usage, something they hope will in turn make their apps faster and friendlier for consumers.

Facebook plans to work with Onavo and the Internet.org coalition to improve the efficiency of web access, which should in turn also lower the cost.

Current Onavo and of course new Onavo app users will still get the same service as always as the brand name will continue, the only change here is that Facebook services should start reaping the rewards to more optimisations in the near future.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Engadget.