Weekly Roundup: CeBIT hits Sydney as the national broadband race heats up

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Weekly Roundup:  CeBIT hits Sydney as the national broadband race heats up

CeBIT’s three-day extravaganza debuted new products and plans for the future, and the names change as the bid for the National Broadband Network heats up.

A new technology that promises infinite battery life could mean the end of mobile users seeing their phones go flat. American electrical engineer Ray Winton has patented a “charge pump” that harvests radio frequency (RF) energy using a wireless antenna.

Winston believes that by storing the harvested energy at high voltage on a capacitor, he will be able to store large amounts of energy on an integrated circuit.

Red Hat scolded Australian leaders at CeBIT 08 for target="_blank">abstaining from the International Standards Organisation vote to make Open Office XML an international standard. Red Hat’s Asia Pacific Senior Product Manager Frank Feldmann said he was disappointed that Australia missed the opportunity to promote open source technology.

A reality-TV style coding competition amongst Java developers is slated to begin on 23 June. The contest seeks to examine how well teams collaborate, and will be broadcast with daily online episodes.

Contestants will be grouped into teams of two and compete in individual and collaborative coding styles for two problems. More than US$7000 in prizes is up for grabs, including a Mac Book Pro, Subversion Hosting, agile training and UNA licenses and hosting.

A new research paper suggests that inhaling certain types of nanotubes can result in mesotheiloma, a type of lung cancer that is commonly caused by exposure to asbestos. Researchers cautioned that it is the long, thin types of nanotubes that are comparable to asbestos, as the shorter, curly nanotubes were not found to be harmful.

Government-funded ICT research bodies in Australia tend to fall into the “valley of death” when trying to bring new technologies to market, said a CeBIT panel this week.

The panel, which included NICTA, DSTO and the CSIRO attributed the problem to a lack of competitive knowledge and innovative inspiration.

Online office specialist Zoho has thrown its hat into the race with Google to provide full document editing for the iPhone. Zoho provides a free suite of integrated productivity applications such as word processing and spreadsheets, many with more advanced features than Google's offerings.

The company discussed its iPhone plans at CeBIT, and said that allow Google is the competition, it is not the enemy, applauding the online giant for creating a bigger market for companies like Zoho to flourish in.

The G9 announced that not only will it put down the $5 million bond to bid for the national broadband network, but it be changing its name to Terria. Despite the name change, the group will still include its eight existing members, including Optus, iiNet, and Internode.

The announcement comes directly on the heels of Communication Minster Stephen Conroy’s decision to extend the tender deadline, admitting that required infrastructure information is not yet available for all bidders.

A new study predicts Apple will ‘rule the home’ by 2013, expecting the computer giant to offer eight key products and services to connect PCs and digital content to the TV-stereo infrastructure in consumers' homes over the next five years.

The study suggests that PC makers like HP and Microsoft will be the hardest hit over Apple’s dominance in the market.

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