The communications minister has asked the NBN Co board to resign, with Labor dismissing the move as the ‘trashing’ of the national broadband network.
A spokesman for Mr Turnbull confirmed late on Monday night that Mr Turnbull made the request ahead of the board meeting last Friday.
He declined to confirm NBN Co chairwoman Siobhan McKenna and all but one of her board colleagues have since offered their resignations.
The spokesman told AAP there may be an announcement about new board members soon.
It is understood the matter will be considered at a meeting of the federal cabinet as early as next Tuesday.
‘And so the trashing of the national broadband network has begun,’ Labor communications spokesman Anthony Albanese said on Monday.
The resignations may relate to Mr Turnbull’s comment earlier this month that while he had no criticism of individual members ‘it is remarkable that there is nobody on that board who has either run or built or been responsible for building or managing a large telecommunications network’.
‘Given that is the core business of NBN Co, that is a singular deficiency’, Mr Turnbull said.
Labor frontbencher Bill Shorten said the Abbott government would stack the NBN Co board with its ‘friends’.
The Abbott government has flagged at least three examinations into broadband: an independent audit of NBN Co’s books, a review of its commercial progress and a Productivity Commission inquiry into broadband policy.
It wants to cut down the cost and speed up the rollout by changing from a fibre-to-the-premises to a fibre-to-the-node model.
NBN Co chief executive Mike Quigley, who also sits on the board, announced his retirement in July but remains in the job during the transition.
Former Telstra boss Ziggy Switkowski has been flagged as a possible replacement for Mr Quigley.
The NBN Co website makes no mention of the resignations, but states: ‘This website is currently under review, pending the introduction of new government policy.’
Liberal frontbencher Mitch Fifield said the government would ensure there was ‘good and appropriate governance’ of the NBN.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Microsoft has announced a new $US40 billion ($A43 billion) share buyback as part of an effort to return more money to stockholders.
The tech giant, which has seen its stock stagnate in recent years, also said on Tuesday it was increasing its dividend by 22 per cent to 28 cents a share.
The new share buyback comes on the heels of another share repurchase plan announced in 2008, which was set to expire in September.
‘These actions reflect a continued commitment to returning cash to our shareholders,’ said Microsoft chief financial officer Amy Hood.
The move comes with Microsoft in transition, having announced the departure of chief executive Steve Ballmer within a year.
Microsoft, which is trying to refocus the company around ‘devices and services’ after missing the transition to mobile computing, also recently announced it was buying the mobile phone division of Nokia.
The maker of Windows software had been the undisputed leader of the tech sector for years, but recently has been overtaken in market value by Apple and Google.
Microsoft shares jumped 1.8 per cent to $33.40 in opening trade on Wall Street.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Facebook has begun feeding select news outlets real-time social network chatter about hot topics to weave into story coverage, wading deeper into Twitter territory.
A pair of software tools, Public Feed and Keyword Insights, lets Facebook’s media partners tap into comments posted on the service.
‘Selected news organisations can begin to integrate Facebook conversations into their broadcasts or coverage by displaying public posts of real-time activity about any given topic,’ Facebook’s online operations vice president, Justin Osofsky, said in a blog post.
‘From favourite television shows to sporting events to the latest news; the conversations are happening on Facebook.’
Facebook listed its media partners as Buzzfeed, CNN, NBC’s Today Show, BSkyB, Slate and Mass Relevance.
For a while now, news outlets have turned to globally popular one-to-many messaging service Twitter for real-time insights, opinions, and perspectives for stories.
Osofsky said that Facebook is ‘committed to building features that improve the experience of discovering and participating in conversations about things happening in the world right now, including entertainment, sports, politics and news.’
Only public posts by Facebook members will be streamed to news outlets, according to the California-based social network.
The software tools also allow news outlets to report demographic breakdowns of those discussing topics online, as well as how often specific words have been mentioned.
Osofsky gave the example of NBC’s Today Show being able to ‘include how many people on Facebook talked about a popular subject, where it’s getting the most buzz, whether it’s most popular among males or females, and with which age groups.’
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Twitter will unveil its first Australian headquarters this week.
The social networking giant has been steadily increasing its presence in Australia since late 2012, with a still-growing roster of staff and high profile partnerships with several sporting codes and media organisations.
It will formally open its corporate offices in Sydney CBD this week – though staff have been working from the building for several weeks.
Twitter also confirmed on Monday it has appointed former Google Asia-Pacific executive, Karen Stocks as its Australian managing director.
The move comes as Twitter seeks to grow its pool of around two million Australian users and increase advertising revenue.
A permanent presence in Australia may also help streamline cooperation with local authorities, who’ve previously asked social network companies to play a greater role in the fight against online bullying.
Facebook increased its presence in Australia in 2011, hiring Mia Garlick, a former assistant secretary at the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy to oversee its local operations.
Google also has corporate offices in Sydney.
As a busy business owner, you’re unlikely to have endless time and resources to spend on marketing, so what you execute needs to really count. Focus on these five strategies for maximum bang for buck.
A survey conducted by US email marketing company Constant Contact has revealed the most effective marketing techniques for small businesses. Even though the study is perhaps biased to email marketing, the overall results are consistent with what I believe works well for soloists.
Here are the top five marketing strategies for small businesses according to the survey, and the percentage of respondents who found these strategies effective:
1. Email marketing – 83 per cent
2. Website marketing, including both content marketing and SEO – 71 per cent
3. Face-to-face interaction – 68 per cent
4. Social media – 49 per cent
5. Events – 41 per cent
These results show some interesting trends, which may change the way you think about and conduct your marketing activities.
Facebook and other technology giants have launched an initiative designed to give the whole world access to the internet.
The project is entitled Internet.org and its goal is to extend internet access to five billion people by cutting the cost of smart phone-based internet services in developing countries.
"Everything Facebook has done has been about giving all people around the world the power to connect," Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg said on Wednesday.
"There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy," he said, adding that the project aimed to make it easier and cheaper to connecting to the web.
The other partners in the project are Nokia, Ericsson, Samsung, Qualcomm, MediaTek and Opera, while Twitter and LinkedIn are also due to sign up.
Today some 2.7 billion people, just over a third of the world’s population, had access to the internet, and the number of new users was growing only slowly each year, a statement said.
"The goal of Internet.org is to make internet access available to the two-thirds of the world who are not yet connected, and to bring the same opportunities to everyone that the connected third of the world has today," the statement said.
The seven founding partners are going to develop joint projects, share knowledge and mobilise governments and industry to bring the world online.
Specifically, they want to simplify mobile apps to make them more efficient and improve telephone components and networks so they perform better while consuming less energy.
They also want to develop lower-cost, higher-quality smartphones and partnerships to more broadly deploy internet access in underserved communities.
Zuckerberg insisted in an interview with CNN that the project was not simply aimed at generating more customers.
"If we were just focused on making money, the first billion people we’ve connected have way more money than the rest of the next six billion combined. It’s not fair but it’s the way that it is," he said.
The partnership emulates one launched by Facebook in 2011 called Open Compute Project, which also aims to improve the materials used in call centres and make them less energy-hungry.
That project was originally met with scepticism but has gradually won over the major players in the computer industry.
The new thrust comes at a key time for tech groups. Mature markets are saturated and have little potential for significant growth, while poor regions like Africa, Latin America and some parts of Asia are pools of potential new customers.
Facebook could be spreading unhappiness through society as well as keeping people connected, research has shown.
The number one social networking site is strongly associated with declines in well-being, psychologists claim.
Scientists found the more time people spent on Facebook over a two-week period, the worse they subsequently felt.
In contrast, talking to friends on the phone or meeting them in person led to greater levels of happiness.
‘On the surface, Facebook provides an invaluable resource for fulfilling the basic human need for social connection,’ said study leader Dr Ethan Kross, from the University of Michigan in the US.
‘But rather than enhance well-being, we found that Facebook use predicts the opposite result – it undermines it’.
The researchers recruited 82 young adults, all of whom had smartphones and Facebook accounts.
To assess their personal levels of well-being, participants were sent questions by text message at five random times each day for two weeks.
The ‘experience sampling’ technique is a recognised reliable way of measuring how people think, feel and behave in their day-to-day lives.
Participants were asked how they felt ‘right now’, how worried or lonely they were, and to what extent they had been using Facebook or interacting with other people directly.
Writing in the online journal Public Library of Science ONE, the researchers said higher levels of Facebook use correlated with greater loss of well-being.
Volunteers were also asked to rate their level of life satisfaction at the start and end of the study.
Over the two-week period, satisfaction ratings were found to decline the more people used Facebook.
‘This is a result of critical importance because it goes to the very heart of the influence that social networks may have on people’s lives,’ said University of Michigan neuroscientist and co-author Dr John Jonides.
There was no evidence that people were more likely to log into Facebook when they felt bad, said the researchers.
In addition, loneliness and Facebook both had an independent impact on happiness.
‘It was not the case that Facebook use served as a proxy for feeling bad or lonely,’ said Kross.
Further research is planned to look at the psychological reasons for the negative effect of Facebook on well-being.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has never paid to boost his social media profiles.
But his office acknowledges some of his 1.4 million Twitter followers aren’t genuine.
‘Neither he (Mr Rudd), nor his office, has ever paid to boost the Prime Minister’s Twitter followers, Facebook friends or Facebook likes,’ a spokesman for Mr Rudd told AAP.
‘What spambots choose to do in their own time is a matter for them.’
Spambots are automated programs that create fake social and email accounts to flood users with spam and a number appear to follow Mr Rudd, who is easily one of the most popular Australians on the social media site.
Telltale signs of spambot Twitter accounts include those with little or no personal profile information combined with zero or few tweets and very few followers.
An analysis of Mr Rudd’s followers list shows a number of accounts fitting that description – though it remains unclear what proportion are genuine.
Most famous people on Twitter have spambot followers – and there’s little they can do about it apart from the report the accounts and hope they’re removed.
It comes after Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was bombarded by about 80,000 fake, paid-for followers over the weekend.
‘We are working with Twitter now to remove the fake accounts and investigate who was behind this,’ the Liberal Party wrote on Facebook.
‘The Liberal Party has not purchased or artificially sought to inflate any social media numbers.’
By Monday morning Mr Abbott reached 208,357 followers – up from just over 120,000 two months ago, with most of that increase occurring on Saturday and Sunday.
Shortly after 8.20am (AEST) on Monday, the opposition leader’s numbers plunged to just over 165,000 as the paid-for accounts were removed.
His numbers reached 168,725 by early afternoon.
It’s unclear who paid to boost Mr Abbott’s account.
One hundred thousand Twitter followers can easily be bought anonymously online, with marketing companies offering to supply 100,000 new followers for as little as $274.
Followers can be added at a pre-prescribed rate, such as five per day or one per hour.
Facebook likes’ can also be bought online for similar prices.
Queensland University of Technology’s Associate Professor Axel Bruns said Mr Rudd’s numbers were also boosted by about half a million in 2009 and 2010 when Twitter suggested new users follow him.
‘We actually looked at the follower growth over time and there are periods from mid-2009 to the start of 2010 when Twitter recommended Rudd to people who were signing up in Australia,’ Prof Bruns told AAP.
‘To the point where you almost had to follow him to complete the account set-up process.’
Prof Bruns said it’s unclear if a big, genuine Twitter following translates into increased popularity at the ballot box.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
The television networks’ worms were split on who won the leaders’ debate, but the verdict from the blue birds of Twitter was unanimous: they were not impressed.
The commentary on social media was that the debate was boring, the leaders were evasive and the rhetoric was more of the same.
John Collins tweeted that the handshake was the most interesting bit.
Jeff Neale tweeted he didn’t think the leaders moved anybody from entrenched positions.
‘Only item to excite ppl was Rudd’s SSM commitment,’ he said of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s announcement Labor would move to legalise same-sex marriage with a conscience vote.
Twitter traffic peaked at 1,952 tweets per minute during the same-sex marriage discussion.
The announcement was largely greeted positively on social media.
Rauri Jayne wrote ‘KRudd, You just got my vote with that statement.’
But others questioned why Labor was waiting until after the election to move on the issue.
‘I just don’t think I can trust Labor on delivering marriage equality; you just played politics with it for too long,’ Stephen B Sander wrote.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott came under criticism for ducking the issue.
Many were unimpressed by his reference to his sister Christine Forster, including actress Magda Szubanski, who came out as gay last year.
She wrote she wished he would ‘stop trotting out his gay sister every time he is asked a direct question’ on marriage equality.
When it was over, Mr Abbott took to Twitter to say he was pleased with the debate.
‘If you want a new way, you’ve got to choose a new government,’ he wrote.
Mr Rudd also tweeted post-debate, but he did not comment on the outcome, preferring to reiterate there would be legislation for marriage equality with a full conscience vote.
‘I believe this is the right thing to do,’ he wrote.
Story source: www.bigpond.com
Facebook has begun letting people share social network posts at blogs or other spots on the internet.
An Embedded Posts feature being tested out at CNN, Huffington Post, Bleacher Report, PEOPLE and Mashable websites lets Facebook members broadcast posts in real-time to broader online audiences.
‘We are beginning to roll out Embedded Posts to make it possible for people to bring the most compelling, timely public posts from Facebook to the rest of the web,’ Facebook software engineers Dave Capra and Ray He said in a blog post on Wednesday.
‘When embedded, posts can include pictures, videos, hashtags and other content,’ they continued.
‘People can also like and share the post directly from the embed.’
Facebook posts that people allow to be shared publicly can be fired off to blogs or selected outside websites, with the list of venues to grow quickly, according to the engineers.
Examples given by Facebook included an official British Monarchy Page publishing a picture of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their newborn son.
‘Every day, public figures, journalists and millions of regular people share their thoughts on what’s happening around the world on Facebook publicly,’ Capra and He said.
‘Many journalists post detailed commentary about world events from their Facebook timeline.’
The Twitter-style feature is being added as California-based Facebook works to expand its presence on the internet and its appeal to members increasingly accessing the internet on the go with smartphones or tablets.
Story source: www.bigpond.com