When Napthine announced Wi-Fi for regional areas, these entrepreneurs jumped on board

4:56AM | Thursday, 10 April

Late last year two Melbourne Hub members, Nathan Dyer and Jake Puhl, jumped on a V/Line trip to Bendigo with the idea that they would get out of the city and create a “regional pop-up hub” for the day.   Their spontaneous trip was part of an increasing global phenomenon of a “reverse commute”, where city dwellers make it out to regional areas for the day.   Up until now, limited Wi-Fi infrastructure made that difficult, but in Victoria at least a recent announcement by Premier Denis Napthine for improved internet and mobile coverage in regional areas has changed that.   Napthine said free Wi-Fi will be available to passengers on several key V/Line train services. He said the package would also be used to reduce mobile coverage blackspots across the state.   Hub member and futurist Julian Waters-Lynch says the opportunity was there to re-invigorate innovation in small towns.   “As yet co-working is really a city phenomenon and building up these pockets in regional areas is a way of making sure that young people don’t feel the need to leave these areas to act on innovation,” he says.   “We’re hoping that more and more people will visit emerging communities and help build them up as centres of innovation.”   Waters-Lynch says that the train journey itself could be used to hold moving hackathons with just better access to power sources needed to make it happen.   There has already been some talk of holding a TedX on a train.   “There’s something about moving that adds a whole new element to it,” he says. “Making TedX a journey is an interesting idea.”   The other big benefit these regional areas offered entrepreneurs, in particular startups, is the lower cost of living compared to the city.   “I’ve thought about whether small towns could host startups at a particular stage of their growth,” he says.   “The idea is not to move startups out of the city, but give them a chance to experience something different – that can unleash a lot of creativity too,” says Waters-Lynch, who commutes between Clunes and Melbourne CBD.   “For me, that switch evokes a different kind of thinking and I love what each setting brings,” he says.   While Wi-Fi on V/Line trains is still a while away, there’s no stopping the entrepreneurs wanting to seize the opportunity and try out reverse-commuting right now.   A second trip to the country has already been made by Hub members who caught a train to Bendigo, inspired by the original trip made by Dyer and Puhl. A third trip to Geelong was made today.   Waters-Lynch says he is aiming to hold a hackathon in a regional town this year.

Google launches e-book celebrating the stories of Australia’s rising startup sector

4:46PM | Tuesday, 1 April

Google Australia has launched a campaign, armed with an e-book and video, to encourage Australians to take up coding.   Written by Fran Molloy, Start with Code shares the stories of the rising startup ecosystem, including startup founders including Noller, Peter Bradd, Marita Cheng and Mitchell Harper.   In the foreword, Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull writes about the profound changes the internet and technology have wrought on the world.   “We need to improve the way we teach our kids; we need to inspire a generation of digital natives who are already avid consumers of technology to embark on careers as entrepreneurs and coders, in e-commerce and as engineers.”   The need to overhaul the education system to equip Australia with coding skills is something Atlassian cofounder Mike Cannon-Brookes also argues for in the book.   “At Atlassian, we know in the next 20 years we are going to have to hire a truck load of computer science people. We’ve got to start breeding them way earlier. We need to train them, at school, now.”   The investment in tech skills and the startup community, both key themes in the book, are argued for by accelerator founder and investor Niki Scevak.   “People call it a brain drain, I call it a brain boomerang, where they’re flying over but they’re coming back a few years later and bringing all that skills and knowledge they’ve had in Silicon Valley back to Australia.”   Google has also launched a video with the book, which celebrates Australian innovation so far and suggests learning to code is a fundamental step for any aspiring inventor today.   Check out the Australian inventions such as boomerangs, notepads, utes, wine casks and Wi-Fi in the video below.   {qtube vid:=THEpcW7vFkc}

April Fools’ startup PR pranks: The good, the bad and the downright silly

4:09AM | Tuesday, 1 April

April Fools’ Day is a rallying call for the PR industry, which has whipped out would-be ideas for their clients. Here’s our pick of the five almost-stories that stood out.   Kogan Drone Broadband Network takes flight     The idea serial entrepreneur Ruslan Kogan has (allegedly) launched a Wi-Fi broadband network via drones, which are already in the air around you, is quite fun.   From the release: “The current Australian NBN rollout is going to cost an estimated $73 billion. Frustrated by the delays and cost blow-out associated with the NBN, our team of engineers decided to take matters into their own hands.”   With the ongoing angst about the withering NBN, and Google’s actual ambitions to spread internet via hot air balloon last year, this idea is the perfect combo of political statement meets market demand meets crazy. We actually wished this one was true.   OneShift launches JobSwap   Employment platform for retail and hospitality staff OneShift has launched JobSwap, a service to enable employees to swap employers and responsibilities for a couple of weeks.   From the release: “[Founder Gen] George said that although OneShift was focusing mainly on employer registrations at this stage, staff of participating businesses would be able to sign up via the website in a matter of weeks.”   This one goes into our April Fools’ lemon basket. In a business promoting themselves as pairing people with the right job, surely the idea of interchangeable staff-company fit is a bad one to promote? It’s also low on humour.   iiNet launches Pet-Fi: Wi-Fi-enabled pet collars     Another internet-related prank, iiNet has announced the launch of Pet-Fi to turn your pet into a mobile hot spot.   From the release: “Bringing you the latest advancement in Wi-Fi technology, we give you Pet-Fi, the world's first pet-powered mobile broadband solution. We know you love your pets and you love having them close-by, so why not take advantage of that? Use Pet-Fi to transform your pet into the ultimate – yet cuddly – Wi-Fi hotspot and mobile broadband modem.”   Water resistant, shock proof and almost definitely a joke, this April Fools’ prank is adorable with a hint of animal use that makes it uncomfortable enough to spur the conversation on. Though it loses points for being easily unbelievable.   Swiftly launches Fool your Friends offering     More of an enabler than a prankster in its own right, 99designs' new service Swiftly has launched a series of pictures demonstrating how the software can be used to doctor photos to fool your friends.   Unfortunately for Swiftly, which is fundamentally a design business, the images aren’t remotely convincing or aesthetically compelling. Again, an April Fools’ dud.   Google Maps launched Pokemon challenge     With ample resources and a history of fun gimmicks and Easter eggs, startup folk were quick to check the Google platforms for April Fool pranks.   This year, Google Maps released a video announcing a new position within their team: Pokemon Master.   {qtube vid:=4YMD6xELI_k}   To find the Pokemons, head to Google Maps and hit “start” without writing in anything. Quite frankly, we think the Pokemons should stay.

How to switch off GPS in Android 4.4 KitKat

3:30AM | Thursday, 27 March

By default, Android 4.4 KitKat devices use a combination of GPS, Wi-Fi and mobile networks to determine your location.   However, if you want to extend your battery life, you can switch GPS off. Here’s how to do it.   From the setting menu, tap on location and then mode.   There should be three options: High Accuracy, Battery saving and Device only.   Tap the middle option – Battery saving – and your device will just rely on your current mobile network location and Wi-Fi to determine your location – without using GPS.   This is slightly less accurate, but will improve your device’s battery life.

Victorian Premier says free Wi-Fi program for Melbourne’s CBD will help boost businesses

3:33AM | Tuesday, 18 March

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine has announced a pilot program providing free Wi-Fi internet access in Melbourne’s CBD.   The pilot program, run by the state government and Melbourne city council, is the first stage in a larger roll-out of public Wi-Fi across the state.   The state government has also opened the tender process for the scheme, with expressions of interest open from March 12 until April 17, with contracts to be awarded in mid-2014.   The program is designed to provide a consistent Wi-Fi experience around Melbourne’s CBD, boosting the quality of life for residents and visitors.   Napthine says he also hopes the scheme will boost productivity and draw help to draw more entrepreneurs to the state.   “As the first step, the initiative aims to pilot fast, reliable and free Wi-Fi services in central Melbourne, in and around publicly owned infrastructure, including public transport hubs and tourist attractions for the next three to five years.   “These networks will be delivered in partnership between the Government, the City of Melbourne and the private sector.   “We are encouraging innovative expressions of interest that will ensure a reliable, sustainable free service that is also filtered for prohibited and undesirable content.   “All responses will be assessed on their commercial viability with strong preference given to proposals where there is no ongoing cost to government, beyond any potential initial investment to establish the infrastructure.   “Government investment could include direct grants or in-kind contributions like advertising, sponsorship and priority access to public infrastructure and facilities.”   This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

Samsung Galaxy S5 unveiled, includes fingerprint scanner, is dust-proof and waterproof

2:04AM | Tuesday, 25 February

Samsung has unveiled its newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, with the South Korean tech giant confirming speculation the new device is both dust-proof and waterproof.   The Galaxy S5 is built on a 2.5GHz quad-core processor, up from 2.3 GHz quad-core processor in its predecessor, the Galaxy S4, and runs Google Android 4.2.2 KitKat.   Samsung is marketing the device as being designed to be used with the company’s Galaxy Gear range of smartwatches, with key features such as its S Health 3 software taking real-time readings from the watch.   The GS5 includes a 5.1-inch full HD AMOLED display with a display resolution of 1920 by 1080 pixels, again slightly larger than the 4.8-inch display on its predecessor.     A key area of improvement is in the camera, which Samsung had bumped up from 13-megapixels to 16 megapixels, with the device claiming the industry’s faster autofocus speed of up to 0.3 seconds.   “People want a high-quality yet easy-to-use camera built into their smartphones so that they can snap, edit and share like a pro. With the Galaxy S5 we were able to incorporate all of these needs without sacrificing the device’s design, style and general functionality,” says Ki Hyoung Son from Samsung Electronics’ camera R&D group.   The GS5 also features a removable 2800 mAh battery, a capacity increase from the 2600 mAh batter in the GS4 and 2100 mAh in the GS3.   Along with the new battery, the device includes an Ultra Power Saving Mode that turns the display to black and white while shutting off all unnecessary functions.   In terms of memory, it includes 2GB of RAM, 16 or 32 GB of internal memory, which can be upgraded using microSD cards.   One slight downside of the upgrade is a slight increase in weight, which has increased from 133g on the GS4 to 145g on the GS5.   The device is also larger in all dimensions than its predecessor, measuring at 142mm by 72.5mm by 8.1 mm, compared to 138.6mm by 69.8mm by 7.9 mm for its predecessor.     In terms of connectivity, the new device includes fifth generation Wi-Fi 802.11ac and 2X2 MIMO, along with USB 3.0 ports and a unique feature called Download Booster, which allows it to simultaneously use Wi-Fi and 4G/LTE to send data.   “With the Galaxy S5, Samsung is going back to basics to focus on delivering the capabilities that matter most to our consumers,” Samsung Mobile chief JK Shin says.   “Consumers are looking for mobile tools that inspire and support them as they improve their everyday lives. The Galaxy S5 represents an iconic design with essential and useful features to focus on delivering the ultimate smartphone on the market today through people inspired innovation.”   Samsung says the new device will be available to consumers in April.   This article first appeared on SmartCompany.

Travel start-up brings an international flavour to AngelCube’s 2013 intake program

5:55AM | Tuesday, 28 May

A start-up that sees travel experts pitch itineraries for holiday-makers and an e-book publishing platform for writers and bloggers are among the teams chosen to join seed accelerator AngelCube’s 2013 intake program.   Melbourne-based AngelCube received more than 150 applications to join its three-month program that will focus on targeted mentoring.   AngelCube co-founder Nathan Sampimon told StartupSmart that AngelCube looked for start-ups with “big vision”.   “We want co-founders that are hungry and want to change the world,” he says. “There’s really got to be that hunger, the need to shake some stuff up.”   The seven start-ups selected to join the program include, for the first time, an international entrant.   AngelCube says on its website the co-founders of BattleTrip have flown from Chile, Portugal and New Zealand to join the program.   BattleTrip sees travellers set out where they want to travel, when and what kind of trip they’d like. Travel writers and bloggers then pitch itineraries and the traveller chooses which one they like.   Other start-ups joining the program include:   Tablo Publishing – an e-book publishing platform c8apps – fantasy sports apps using social networks CoinJar – reconciling Bitcoins to dollars eTaskr – a task marketplace that solves underutilisation of resources within organisations LifeGym – an app that helps women build fitness through real-life rewards Ozirig – a marketplace connecting wholesalers and photography professionals   AngelCube says it’s attracting investor interest in Australia and internationally after two graduates from last year’s program secured funding.   It says Wi-Fi light bulb developer LIFX has raised $1.3 million through crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, while app tester Kickfolio, now known as app.io, has graduated from US-based accelerator 500 Startups and closed its Series A funding round with $1.075 million.

Incoming! $1.1 million funding boost for mobile video start-up

5:25AM | Monday, 6 May

Mobile video start-up Incoming has highlighted the demand for mobile video content after securing $1.1 million from OneVentures, NICTA and the US-based Citrix Startup Accelerator.   Incoming, led by chief executive David McKeague, specialises in mobile content delivery for mobile platforms, delivering high-definition video to mobile devices based on user preferences.   It pre-loads content using available WiFi networks, eliminating the need for streaming or buffering, while reducing the cost.   Incoming TV is available as a mobile app. Some 600,000 users have already downloaded the beta version and three million videos have been played.   Last year, Incoming was selected as one of 23 start-ups for Tech23 2012. Now it has secured $1.1 million in seed financing from a number of investors.   The round was led by One Ventures, an Australian venture capital firm that invests in innovative companies in the information technology, life sciences and clean technology sectors.   Funding also came from NICTA – Australia’s Information and Communications Technology Research Centre of Excellence – and Citrix Startup Accelerator, based in Silicon Valley.   Incoming, based at Australian Technology Park in Sydney, is NICTA’s 11th spinout company.   Incoming TV has been developed specifically for mobile phones and tablets. Its predictive support for the service draws from information on the user’s device, including contextual data such as time of day, location, usage patterns and interests, and social and physical behaviour.   It then applies NICTA’s machine learning techniques to pre-fetch a suitable selection of video material. NICTA research leader Dr Max Ott joins Incoming as its first chief technology officer.   Paul Hoff, NICTA's director of technology transfer, told StartupSmart NICTA has invested a total of $400,000 in Incoming.   Citrix Startup Accelerator, meanwhile, invests in start-ups creating the next generation of cloud infrastructure services, mobile enterprise solutions and collaboration technologies.   In addition to a $250,000 convertible note investment, start-ups have access to an advisory panel and office space in Silicon Valley.   According to McKeague, who is currently overseas, Incoming allows mobile networks to be used more proficiently in off-peak periods.   “The mobile industry estimates that over 20% of subscribers watch mobile videos on any given day, accounting for over 50% of global mobile data traffic on wireless networks,” he said in a statement.   “This is costly for users, carriers and content providers. The Incoming TV service addresses this by pre-loading content using Wi-Fi networks.”   Dr Michelle Deaker, managing director of OneVentures and a NICTA board member, said in a statement Incoming has a “significant opportunity” to capture and support video mobile delivery in global markets.   “[This means] effectively unlocking 30 to 40% of untapped mobile network capacity, which is likely to be worth up to $20 billion by 2016,” Deaker said in a statement.   Michael Harries, chief technology officer of Citrix Startup Accelerator, said in a statement Incoming’s technology is “compelling and complementary” to Citrix offerings.   “Citrix Startup Accelerator invests in only the best entrepreneurs and new businesses creating new solutions for today’s problems in cloud infrastructure and mobile,” he said.   “We look forward to working with Incoming as they build a world-class business.”   According to NICTA chief executive Hugh Durrant-Whyte, Incoming is an “impressive example of NICTA’s research and entrepreneurial capabilities”.

Tips on saving battery power on your iPhone

4:24AM | Tuesday, 9 April

We all know that the battery power of the iPhone will be pretty low at the end of a day away from a charger, so how can we maintain its charge when we don’t have one of those pesky white cords handy.   First off, reduce brightness. This can be done by accessing > Settings > Brightness. Make sure that auto brightness is switched to off.   Another one is disabling location services. This can be done through Settings > Location services.   Although this will prevent you from accessing all data, enabling Airplane mode saves a lot of power. This can be done through Settings > Airplane mode > On. Once Airplane mode is enabled it is still possible to connect to Wi-Fi if a connection is available.

How tech is becoming the new music

3:37AM | Tuesday, 12 March

Last Friday marked the start of another year at SXSW.

Top trends from the Mobile World Congress 2013

2:51AM | Thursday, 28 February

Technology advisory firm Ovum has highlighted a number of key trends to emerge from Mobile World Congress 2013, based on announcements from Telefonia, Google and MasterCard.

What it's like to pitch in Silicon Valley

11:40AM | Tuesday, 13 November

I'm writing this week from the University Cafe in downtown Palo Alto.

The life of a solo digital nomad

11:07AM | Wednesday, 7 November

If you as a solopreneur find that you are travelling about like a gypsy, or even like a snail with a laptop on your back, welcome to the world of the digital nomad.

Apple announces $369 iPad Mini, available in Australia on November 2

10:52AM | Wednesday, 24 October

Apple announced the iPad Mini this morning, with the new gadget to start at $369 and launch in Australia on November 2.

10 more must-have apps for mumpreneurs

10:04AM | Wednesday, 31 October

To work effectively as a mumpreneur you need to be able to work from anywhere at any time, and thanks to laptops, smartphones, tablet PCs and innovative apps, making your business portable has never been easier.

A few ways to save power on iOS

9:03AM | Friday, 7 September

Plenty of iOS users get frustrated by poor battery life, especially when Apple claims its products last for quite a while.

Locate your iPad serial number

9:10PM | Thursday, 6 September

If you want to register your iOS device on the Apple website, then you’ll need to find the serial number. There are a couple of ways to do so.

10 great lessons to take from SXSW 2012

3:01AM | Thursday, 15 March

The South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, is an annual magnet for business innovators and start-ups hoping to strike it big.

US company Cadence launches incubator for Aussie circuit makers

3:27AM | Wednesday, 7 March

California-based company Cadence Design Systems has partnered with National ICT Australia to launch a business incubation program for Australian integrated circuit start-ups.

SeaChange StartUp Camp kicks off this weekend

3:26AM | Wednesday, 7 March

The inaugural SeaChange StartUp Camp will kick off in NSW this weekend, in what has been described as a “dragons’ den” pitching weekend for entrepreneurs.