PHOTOS: Stars in their eyes

January 10th, 2019

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SOME of the greatest footballers to lace up a boot in Newcastle have played on the turf of Kentish, Ford and Harker ovals in Western Suburbs colours.

Names like Johnny Raper, John Cootes and Allan Buman are all part of Rosellas folklore.

In more recent decades brothers Matt and Kurt Gidley have started their careers in red and green before eventually representing the Knights, NSW and Australia.

As the Knights prepare for their biggest match in a decade on Saturday night in the preliminaryfinal against the Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium, former Wests juniors Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts took time yesterday to talk with the stars of the future from the Rosellas.

‘‘Wests is one of the strongest clubs in the state and Australia,’’ Mullen said. ‘‘It’s a good breeding ground for future NRL players.

‘‘They’ve always been strong through the grades and hopefully these guys will go through the grades and play the big time one day.’’

Mullen first played at Wests in the under-10s, a year younger than Rosellas juniors Tyran Duffield and Tyler Moodie whom he met yesterday, along with some of their teammates.

The year 5 students also attend the same school as Mullen did – St Therese’s Catholic Primary School at New Lambton.

Tyran wants to play for the Knights one day and said Mullen was his favourite player because ‘‘he sets people up and is good at passing and drawing’’.

‘‘I think we’re going to go pretty good against the Roosters,’’ he added.

Tyler is the son of former Rosellas, Knights and Parramatta winger Jason Moodie, the coach of the Wests under-11s.

Jarrod Mullen and Tyrone Roberts with Western Suburbs juniors.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Knights training at Mayfield on Wednesday.

Tyler said he was most excited about the prospect of hooker Danny Buderus finishing his stellar career with a premiership.

‘‘Danny Buderus is my favourite player because he played with and against my dad,’’ Tyler said.

The Knights and Rosellas have always held close links and that relationship became official earlier this month when the NRL’s all-in-one club headquarters were opened at Mayfield Balance, which is owned by Wests.

The Knights will also be hoping the Rosellas’ 21-8 win against Kurri Kurri in the Newcastle Rugby League first-grade grand final on Sunday is a good omen for Saturday night.

‘‘It was good to see Wests win the grand final the other day,’’ Mullen said.

Roberts, who injured his right knee in the final minutes of last Saturday’s semi-final win over the Melbourne Storm, is still on track to line up against the Roosters this Saturday.

The livewire halfback completed a solid training session at Mayfield yesterday morning, watched by at least 200 supporters.

The Knights held an open training session for their last run in Newcastle before the grand final qualifier.

‘‘James McManus is still in doubt, but outside of him, everyone is good,’’ coach Wayne Bennett said.

Geelong stars go over the top for Wacky Wednesday

December 10th, 2018

There was the royal family complete with Joel Selwood holding a baby, Sandy from Grease who struck a remarkable resemblance to Corey Enright and defensive trio Andrew Mackie, Jared Rivers and Tom Lonergan as the Three Amigos. And much more.
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A policeman with a sniffer dog, a ruckman in a nappy, and “old fossils” Max Rooke and Joel Corey barely able to make it to the bar with their walking sticks. And still more.

Some of the biggest names in the game also managed to drop in, like a fake Gary Ablett in full Suns gear and a Brownlow around his neck and even Warwick Capper… or was it Steve Johnson in a wig and tight shorts?

The season might have finished a week early for Geelong, but no one puts a full stop on a year better than the Cats.

Cats players, old and young, again raised the bar with their costume choice for Wednesday’s end-of-season celebrations at the Lord of the Isles Hotel in Geelong.

Kindly, the media was allowed in for a brief period to capture the atmosphere and have a chat, although maybe Tom Hawkins wished they weren’t.

“Obviously everyone dresses up really well, so there is a bit of pressure on everyone,” the key forward says in front of the television cameras.

Then asked who he thought was best-on-ground in terms of costume, Hawkins was forced to respond while trying to duck cheese slices being flung at his head by James Podsiadly.

“So far? The day is still pretty young, but I like Capper and also the Lego Man is pretty cool,” he says.

Now for a serious question: how is the injured back, does it need surgery? “I’m really not sure yet, we’ll explore all that, everyone has been away from the footy club…” Hawkins answers before the loud roar of “Capper!” drowns him out and he realises Johnson has climbed on his injured back to take a hanger.

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Rohan Dennis confident of making an impact in Florence

December 10th, 2018

Rohan Dennis believes he still has plenty in the tank at the end of a first and race filled year as a professional cyclist to leave the imprint he hopes for in the individual time trial of the world road championships in Florence, Italy on Wednesday night (AEST).
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The 23 year-old South Australian who now rides for the American Garmin-Sharp team is one of two Australians who will race in the 57.9 km time trial – the other being Tasmanian Richie Porte (Sky).

Both riders face a mighty challenge to crack into the medals against seasoned professionals such as the defending world champion German Tony Martin, former gold medallist Swiss Fabian Cancellara and the reigning Olympic time trial winner Briton Bradley Wiggins.

However, Porte and Dennis are as well prepared as they can be for this race against the clock on a flat route that will suit them, and should any of the top riders fail to deliver an optimal performance, the opportunity may arise for the Australian pair to surprise.

A top five finish by either Australian rider would not be out of the blue though, as impressive as such a result would be.

Dennis, who has ridden strongly in a number of time trials this year – including last Sunday’s 57.20 km team time trial in which Garmin-Sharp placed eighth – is that confident he has what it take to produce his best in the individual time trial.

“I find the team time trial is actually a good way to open the body up and really have a good hit out,” Dennis told Fairfax Media on Wednesday.  “But obviously you need to manage your recovery pretty well afterwards to give yourself a good chance in the time trial.

“My form in the team time trial I thought was pretty good. I have been putting a lot of effort and time into the individual time trial, so to have the high end power in the team time trial still is a good sign.

“The time trial coarse is a good one for me. I say that because most of my results in time trials this year have come from flat time trials. “The heat won’t be much of a factor in the race, it’s only in the 20’s (Celsius).”

Australian men’s road coach and national selector, Brad McGee, is confident that Porte and Dennis will produce their best on Wednesday night (AEST).

“Both have put runs on the board this year. They are very well prepared time triallists,” McGee told Fairfax Media.

“The big order at this time of year is, ‘Can they put it together at this time of the season for a major championship?

“We have studied the course, because with the length of the course it is quite a different tactic than to what they are used to.”

That tactic, says McGee is simple: hold power and pace for the full 57.9 km race distance. “I don’t think many guys [in the race] will have ridden that far in a time trial,” McGee said.  “But they both have that confidence to go the distance which is part of the game.”

After the time trial, Porte and Dennis will rest up and prepare for the 272 men’s elite road race on Sunday for which Australia has a nine-rider team that will be led by Porte and 2011 Tour de France champion Cadel Evans who won the world title in 2009 at Mendrisio, Switzerland.

Meanwhile, in Tuesday’s 22.05km elite women’s time trial, Shara Gillow – Australia’s sole entrant – placed a disappointing 12th from 84 starters.

The race was won by Ellen Van Dijk of the Netherlands in 27 minutes 48.18 seconds. The silver medal went to New Zealand’s Linda Villumsen who came in at 24.10 secs and the bronze to Carmen Small of the United States who was at 28.74 secs. Gillow’s time was at 1 min 20.39 secs to Van Dijk.

Gillow later praised Van Dijk, but agreed that she was on an off day. The Queenslander said: “I always knew it was going to be tough. Some days are good days and some days are bad days and unfortunately today was just a bad day for me. But congrats to Ellen, she really deserved the win.”

Australian women’s coach Martin Barras said hopes were high that she would have finished far better than 12th.

“We were hoping for fifth or sixth on this course with the form that Shara took in today,” Barras said.

“She rode her heart out as she always does, but there was just a bit of edge lacking out there pretty much from the start of the race.”

Gillow, who helped Orica-AIS win the bronze medal in Sunday’s team time trial, will also race in Saturday’s 140.5 km elite women’s road race.

For live coverage of the men’s elite time trial world championship watch Eurosport tonight from 9.15pm (AEST) or SBS2 from 10.30pm (AEST).

Twitter: @rupertguinness

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Rabbitohs ready to answer the call

December 10th, 2018

Feeling good: Greg Inglis. Photo: Brendan EspositoAt this time of year it’s better to hear from the bearded man than the fat lady.
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‘‘If you can win with Wigan, you can win with Souths’’ he drawled as he shuffled past Michael Maguire, bringing a smile to the coach’s face.

In the background, on Redfern Oval, half a dozen first-team players were kicking around footballs with some local kids, the sun beating down on a perfect spring morning. Ah, the serenity.

There’s a genuine sense of calm at Redfern. That or they’re good bluffers. However heavy the burden of four decades without a premiership and the hopes and dreams of thousands of fans from Hillsdale to Hollywood may be, Maguire indicated on Wednesday that, by the time they run onto ANZ Stadium on

Friday night to play Manly for a place in the grand final, Souths will be ready physically and mentally and, this time, will have experience on their side.

‘‘We’ve spoken a little bit about that,’’ he said of last year’s preliminary final loss to Canterbury. ‘‘But really we are a different team now. We’ve got a lot more experience, particularly in this arena.

‘‘This team’s been together for two years now trying to develop what we’ve got the opportunity for. I believe we’ve improved a hell of a lot right throughout this season from where we were last year. You get to measure yourselves, but the experience and understanding – a number of players have played in rep teams now, played in big games – hopefully we can take that into Friday.

“We learnt lessons throughout the season, different adversities we faced through certain games. It’s been a big marathon to get to this opportunity. Now it’s about taking your opportunities.’’

Maguire, who joined Souths after a successful stint with Wigan Warriors in England, said he had given his players time to get refreshed as well as train during their precious extended break. They’d also spent some quality time together in readiness for the big stage. ‘‘The team has built a great strength amongst themselves,’’ he said. ‘‘They really enjoy playing together. That’s probably the biggest key for us, getting out and enjoying working hard for each other. That comes into the mental side of playing tough games.’’

But the coach has seen enough of the Sea Eagles to know that they, too, have a strong mental game. They’ve been pounded physically, especially recently, but have stayed alive. There is no point assuming exhaustion will finally catch up with them this week, either.

Maguire didn’t say it, but the inference was that the Sea Eagles would probably have gained a lot of belief in themselves from their ability to overcome hurdles. More practically, Maguire outlined, dangers exist everywhere in the Manly line-up. ‘‘Both halves are playing well, their forward pack’s rolling forward and if their forwards are rolling, their halves are feeding their edges,’’ he said. ‘‘Jamie Lyon’s a quality player on the edge as well. We need to make sure we defend very well.’’

And any question about Brett Stewart playing? Forget it. The fullback will be there. ‘‘I’m sure he will. You want your quality players to be playing every game,’’ he said. ‘‘It’s a bit like when Greg Inglis plays for us. I’m sure he’ll be playing.’’

As will Inglis. ‘‘He is good at the moment. He’s trained really well over the last two weeks. A lot of people have talked about his knee but I see Greg, particularly this week, moving really well. He’s enjoying what he’s doing. When Greg’s in that mood, hopefully there’s good things to come. They really just want to focus about their own game and play the way they’re capable of playing.’’

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UPDATED: House fire at Lakewood

December 10th, 2018

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today. House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.
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House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

House destroyed by fire in Lakewood today.

FORENSIC police and fire investigators are on the scene, trying to piece together the cause of a house fire in Lakewood earlyWednesdaymorning.

Authorities believe a working smoke alarm saved the lives of the three occupants inside the home. They managed to escape the home relatively unharmed.

An elderly woman, residing next door,collapsed near the sceneand died in hospitalafter seeing the fire.

It is understood the Teal Close house in Lakewood caught fire shortly before5am.

A Fire and Rescue NSW spokesman said the house, south of Port Macquarie, was well alight when they arrived just after five.

A vehicle parked in the carport next to the house also was in flames.

“It took about 30 minutes for our crews to extinguish the blaze,” Fire and Rescue NSW Commander Mark McGuire said.

“They did well to contain the blaze to the house of origin.

“Fortunately the smoke detectors did activate which probably saved the lives of all of them. The three people … have been taken to hospital suffering smoke inhalation.

“We haven’t determined the cause of the fire as yet.”

Investigators are going through the burnt home, taking photographs and surveying the scene. There is no indication as yet of the exact cause of the fire.

A neighbour spoke of his shock and the actions of fellow Teal Close residents to help: click here.

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The hardest thing about raising kids

December 10th, 2018

familyWe all know that raising kids is challenging at times. No doubt.
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We can get frustrated by all the chores associated with raising kids – cooking, feeding, washing, cleaning up muck and mess from every surface of the house, tidying up toys and clothes from every corner of the house, driving our kids here, there and everywhere, and so much more.

We can also be challenged by our child’s behaviour – whinging and whining, not listening, tantrums, fussy eating, leaving a mess everywhere, not sleeping, biting, yelling, not taking responsibility, not going their chores … and the list goes on.

But when we think about these challenges, we often overlook the most important factor.

The absolute hardest thing about raising kids is having to take on/deal with/manage our children’s emotional lives. This is how it manifests:

•Your baby is feeling overwhelmed so she cries and cries• Your toddler is frustrated that he can’t play with that truck so he bites the other child• Your preschooler is annoyed that she can’t have another chocolate biscuit so she whines and complains• Your school age child is angry that he has to do his chores before bed so he tells you that you’re the meanest parent that ever lived• Your teenager is upset that you won’t let her go to a party so she calls you a bitch and slams her bedroom door  

We are dealing with their emotions every moment of every day. Kids don’t have all the skills they need to manage their own feelings and emotions so they cry, lash out, complain, yell at you, blame you, and call you names.

Taking on other people’s emotions can be draining, exhausting, and downright difficult. Whinging and whining and constant crying can wear you down, and being called unpleasant names can be very hurtful.

So what can we do to overcome this most difficult of challenges?

Acknowledge that your child is learning to manage their emotions

That’s why it can be good to name the emotion or feeling for your child. When your baby is crying, you say, “I know you’re tired. Let’s put you to bed.” When your toddler is biting, you say, “I know you are frustrated but biting is not appropriate. Use your words if you would like a turn with the truck.”

The more we name our emotions for our kids, the more they learn to identify them for themselves.

Keep the bigger picture in mind

Your child is having a moment where they are overcome by their emotions. No, their behaviour isn’t appropriate, but if you understand what’s happening you can respond in a more constructive way. Instead of getting caught up in their emotion, you can focus on helping them through it.

Be aware of your own emotions

Do you blame others when you’re feeling angry? Do you lash out when you’re feeling hurt? Do you complain when something doesn’t go your way? Become better aware of your own emotional reactions, and be a good role model for your kids.

And one more idea that can help: don’t forget to take advantage of all the other wonderful emotions you share with your kids – the joy, fun, delight, pride, excitement, sense of achievement, inspiration, contentment, hope and love. They make it all worthwhile.

Jodie Benveniste is a psychologist, parenting author, parenting expert, TEDx speaker and director of Parent Wellbeing.

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On the face of it: Australia opts for traditional Next Top Model choice with Melissa Juratowitch

November 10th, 2018

Melissa Juratowitch is now the face of Australia’s Next Top Model, but could we have been a little more exotic in our choice? More of the same? … Former Australia’s Next Top Model winners Alice Burdeu, Montana Cox, Demelza Reveley and Amanda Ware.
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Bit too shiny … Australia’s Next Top Model live finale.

The diversity and ethnicity in the Australia’s Next Top Model finalists this season were hailed as the most distinct the show has ever produced.

It was billed as the year a very different model would be crowned winner in the television modelling contest, a chance to break the mould and step out of the box. An opportunity to redefine the notion of beauty in this country.

Yet Australia chose to crown 16-year-old Melissa Juratowitch winner during the live final at The Star on Tuesday night. The public ultimately opting for a doll-like winner, whose alien-like wide-eyed features fit the current catwalk brief, albeit a little on the short side.

The shock result saw underdog Juratowitch take out the eighth cycle of the show – the highest ratings for the pay television broadcaster with over 400,000 viewers a week – over the other two finalists; Sudanese Australian model Nyadak “Duckie” Thot and Fijian Indian model, Shanali Martin.

Both were hot favourites, mentor Didier Cohen openly backed Duckie – who was a front runner on social media – while designer Alex Perry stated up front he would ditch his trademark sunglasses if Shanali didn’t win quipping: “I’ve got my sunglasses riding on it”.

But in the end, Australia voted for a more traditional type of winner and opted for the established route. It felt like a a missed opportunity.

While Juratowitch does break the cookie-cutter requirements for models with her petite 173cm height (five centimetres short of the minimum requirement international scouts from IMG had recommended in the audition stages) she still fits the traditional style of winner, which to date, let’s face it, have been fair and translucent skinned. There is a certain degree of sameness. Think previous incarnations including Alice Burdeu, Montana Cox, Demelza Reveley and Amanda Ware.

Host Jennifer Hawkins told Fairfax Media ahead of the final: “They’re very diverse. It’s muliticultural and that’s great. It’s not just my decision, we all collaborated and it’s over the course of months.

“The shoots, how they performed, they’re great girls,” she said with her trademark smile firmly planted and, of course, not a hair out out of place.

“Melissa is such a stunner. She has such a modern, unique look that I think will translate on the international runways as well as in editorial … I remember the very first photo shoot from episode one, where she blew us all away, but really, she never stopped impressing us. Every week she has produced shots that we simply could not ignore and neither could the rest of Australia. What an amazing model we’ve found.”

But social media campaigns and Instagram (which became the social platform of choice for the show according to research) had overwhelmingly indicated the winner would be Duckie. There were even infographics showing her as the clear favourite to win based on popular appeal.

Coming in a close second ahead of the announcement, in the Twittersphere and on Instagram at least, was statuesque Shanali Martin.

Juratowitch was, according to the early predictions, not active enough on social media and not as popular in what was shaping up to be a popularity contest.

So when Juratowitch was announced, even she could be seen mouthing “what the f—?” as she hugged her competitor.

But the Melbourne school girl, who was plucked from the sidelines watching her friend in an early audition, took it all magnificently in her stride.

“I was waiting for her to say Shanali,” an elated but calm Juratowitch told Fairfax Media straight after the announcement, surrounded by her mum and dad,  sisters and 17 of her friends.

“I think it’s great – I’ve always been someone who’s pretty strong and if I can set an example for young girls to embrace their differences – and stop that feeling of so much pressure to look a certain way – I think it’s great.”

At 173cm (“I’m still growing”) Juratowitch is the first Aussie petite model the series has produced.

Professionally the notion is not completely impossible. Kate Moss, Gemma Ward and Bambi Northwood are famous under-standard-model-height success stories. However petite has been trialled, fairly unsuccessfully, in a cycle helmed by America’s Next Top Model host Tyra Banks.

With her Christina Ricci-esque “seven-finger forehead,” which she openly acknowledges (“I’ve always known I’m different”), Juratwich’s wide-eyed look has been described by Dawson as “alien doll” and “a unique look … a small package”.

Even tough, smart-talking judge Perry admitted for the first time in the show’s history that when it came to Juratowitch, height wasn’t such a big factor for him: “It’s all about her face.”

Harper’s Bazaar editor Kellie Hush, whose magazine’s cover Juratowitch will grace for the November 7 issue as part of her prize, says “Melissa is smaller than the other girls. [She has a] great face, and she plays to that”.

Industry insiders say she will struggle to get work internationally.

Juratowitch has also pocketed $20,000 cash from TRESemme, a Nissan Dualis and a modelling contract with IMG.

Social media criticism suggested the show had become more of a popularity contest than a straight out modelling comp. Juratowitch herself says social media was incredibly important to her campaign.

“As soon as we got our phones [once we left the house] all of us girls were straight onto Twitter and Instagram,” she said.

“These days, as a model, you have to communicate with a wide range of people, showcase all aspects of what you’re doing. These days it’s so important, as a model, to gain that following. I’ve got 12,000 Instagram followers and I only started that account a few weeks ago as my other one was hacked.”

Juratowitch says her calm exterior during filming, and in the final, is her technique for handling tough situations.

“I think I try and be calm and in the end it works for me, I don’t give myself a chance to be nervous.”

She will still complete year 11 and 12 and says she still plans on attending university.

“I’ve always wanted to do a degree, school is still important for me. But being on Top Model has completely changed my life.”

And while the winner may have been a shock, there was little else about the final’s super slick production to create watercooler talk.

Hawkins opened that big envelope without any fuss, in the final minute of the flawless live Shine production, so schmick and shiny it was almost too perfect. There were none of the gaffes, tantrums and insights into the series we have come to love and expect.

Long-time fans of the show, who may have been tuning in for some drama to dissect the next day, would have been left disappointed. Last night’s production was so tight, there was literally nothing left to talk about. The credits were rolling and the confetti falling after the blink-and-you’d-miss it announcement.

And if you heard that sigh of relief, it was Jennifer Hawkins in her striking and plunging electric blue J’Aton gown, wiping her perfectly arched brow as she sailed through her first live finale broadcast with flying colours. A giggling, perfect mannequin, whose exterior was unflappable. While viewers never really got to see past that perfectly bronzed skin to find her personal stamp on the production, there was little doubt she was more than capable and professional.

Let’s not forget the chalice of hosting Top Model has long been a poisoned one. Many more experienced presenters before her have spectacularly failed.

Previous disasters which have plagued the final production include Jodhi Meares pulling out at the eleventh hour (with Charlotte Dawson heroically saving the day in a moment Foxtel executives will never forget) and Sarah Murdoch’s global fiasco when she announced the wrong winner in 2010.

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Cheap iOS 7 data calls a threat to telcos

November 10th, 2018

Is iPhone 5c a flop?
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A new calling feature in Apple’s latest operating system threatens billions of dollars of revenue that network operators such as Telstra, Optus and Vodafone receive from mobile voice calls.

The rising popularity of data-based voice calls and text messaging apps, known as “over-the-top” apps, may force telcos to adjust their charges to reflect the actual cost of providing each service to consumers.

The latest iteration of Apple’s iPhone operating system – iOS 7 – has added an audio-only function to the “Facetime” calling option, which previously allowed only video calls.

Facetime allows conversations over the internet rather than a traditional mobile voice connection. This uses the consumer’s monthly data allowance rather than a voice allowance. If a Wi-Fi connection is available, it costs nothing.

While data-based conversation apps such as WhatsApp, Viber and Skype have been available for years, embedding the VOIP option in the phone’s operating system increases the chances it could go mainstream.

The cost of making a VOIP call is the same for domestic and international calls, potentially slashing call costs for consumers. It could be used while travelling to reduce call costs, although would only avoid roaming charges if used exclusively on free Wi-Fi networks – using data on a foreign mobile network can be exorbitantly expensive.

A spokeswoman for Apple in Australia said the audio function was “more about the quality of the call and international calls”. The amount of data used by an audio call would depend on the type of, and congestion in, the network, she added. Facetime Audio provided a deeper and closer voice experience than normal mobile calls when tested by Fairfax Media, including international calls.

Despite the cannibalisation of their revenue streams, a spokeswoman for Vodafone said it did not block Facetime Audio and was not concerned about losing revenue. This is because voice and texts were “infinite” on their Red plans, whereas VOIP used up data allowances, which were limited. The quality of the VOIP call also varied depending on the data connection, she said.

“Generally VOIP provides a slightly degraded call experience compared to a regular phone call that is still very easy to hear and be heard by the person on the other end,” she said.

A spokesman for Telstra said it was ”theoretically possible” for the telco to disable functions like Facetime Audio, “but it’s probably not something we would consider if for no other reason than it would have an adverse impact on how our customers want to use our network,” he said, adding that voice traffic gets priority on Telstra’s network.

“Our current offers include very large value inclusions such that we don’t think there are many good reasons for customers to pursue these types of products. A further point to note is that, while we aren’t releasing further details at this stage, we are considering our own enhanced messaging solutions for consumers,” he said.

The number of phone calls made over Telstra’s network has increased steadily from 11 billion minutes in 2008-09 to 20.4 billion minutes in 2012-13, but it does not reveal how much revenue comes from voice-only mobile use.

Telstra estimates a 10 minute VOIP call on a mobile would use about 6 megabytes [MB] of data while the same video call would use about 300 MB. But another VOIP app called Viber estimates its app uses about 2.3 MB for a ten minute call.

Senior consultant and telecommunications analyst firm Ovum, Craig Skinner, said a “major one-time price rebalancing” could bring the prices of voice and data in line with the costs of providing the service.

“The basic problem is that mobile retail price structures bear little relation to traffic costs. Voice and data services impact differently on total revenues and costs, meaning that voice decline affects profitability disproportionately. Until these divergences are addressed, tensions between network operators and [apps] will continue,” he said.

Globally, network operators will lose up to $US12 billion of mobile revenue in 2013 and $US27 billion of fixed revenue as people move to “over the top” apps, according Ovum.

Mr Skinner said Apple added the new feature primarily to capture market share in the US, where many mobile plans still have unlimited data and consumers have a high incentive to avoid voice costs.

“For Apple [Facetime Audio] is more about locking people into their services and using it to call customers on other iPhones. In the US it is substantially cheaper to make the data call. If you are an iPhone customer calling another iPhone customer it is cheaper, but if you are calling an Android customer you have to pay more,” Mr Skinner said.

This copies the mobile network operators’ tactic of trying to lock customers in by offering free calls within their network.

It would be technically possible for Australian carriers to charge different rates for data-voice calls, but would need regulatory approval and could be unpopular.

“If there was not a regulatory problem then technically carriers could look at the packets [of data travelling on the network] – ‘this one is voice and this one is video’ – and separate it out and charge different rates,” Mr Skinner said.

“While all of the carriers might secretly think about it and want to do it – like a bank putting up interest rates – none of them would want to be the first to try it.”

Meanwhile, foreign telcos revenues have been slashed by data-based applications. In the Netherlands, network operator Hi Brand has suffered a 62 per cent decline in text messaging volumes since early 2012 as customers moved to cheaper data-based messaging, according to a recent report by Citi’s Asian telecoms analysts.

In Spain and the Netherlands, where telcos have been hardest hit, nearly all pre-paid customers admit to using Wi-Fi to make calls and send messages, thereby avoiding network costs altogether.

“Expensive voice pricing coupled with relatively affordable data pricing (€12/1.5GB of data) creates pressure on voice and even SMS revenues for the European names,” the Citi analysts found.

 How to use Facetime Audio 

– Select a contact

– iOS 7 gives the option to call or text “mobile”, or call or videocall with “Facetime”

– Push the telephone icon next to Facetime

– A digital dial tone rather than a normal “bring-bring” is used

– The other party can receive the Facetime call as normal, as long as they have the new operating system installed

– Call quality depends on mobile or Wi-Fi network congestion.

– iOs 7 only available on iPhone 4 and above

– Can be used for international calls

– Using a Wi-Fi network would not use the data allowance at all

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Jacqui Lambie celebrates Senate win, switches to Palmer line on carbon tax

November 10th, 2018

Successful Palmer United Party Senate candidate Jacqui Lambie in Burnie, Tasmania.Federal politics coveragePUP candidate claims Senate seat
Nanjing Night Net

In the end, the result was in the hands of “the big man upstairs”, newly elected Palmer United senator Jacqui Lambie said. And by that, she didn’t mean Clive Palmer.

“No, no, not this time around,” Ms Lambie said, minutes after the Senate preferences distribution gave her the final Tasmanian seat.

“Once it gets to that point, it’s up to God upstairs. There’s not much else I can do about it.”

Ms Lambie, who came onto the national stage after the election with a promise to be tougher than Pauline Hanson, said she had shared the thrill of her win with sons Brenton, 22, and Dylan, 19.

“They said: ‘You bloody beauty’.”

The 42-year-old single mother squeezed past the Liberals’ Sally Chandler and the Sex Party’s Robbie Swan to win a seat in the new Senate next July.

Under mentoring from Mr Palmer, which she described as very open-ended, Ms Lambie is also learning about a united party voice.

Her initial support for some sort of carbon tax has been abandoned.

“Oh no, I just buggered that up,” she said. “I’ll be honest. On the day it was a little bit nerve-racking with all you media around me. But no. My carbon tax is the same as the Palmer United Party’s. Is that there’ll be no carbon tax.”

Ms Lambie also partly joined the PUP line with concerns about the Australian Electoral Commission.

“I think there needs to be some reform about,” she said. “But everything is very clean swept down here in Tasmania. I’ve had no issues whatsoever.”

The issue that did bring the former military policewoman alive as she stood in the lobby of the AEC in Hobart was treatment of war veterans and injured defence personnel.

With almost nine months to wait until she takes her seat in the Senate, Ms Lambie said she would be using the time to take their case up to the Abbott government.

“There’s nothing to stop us coming out with solutions now,” she said.

“I know the Liberal Party is very aware of my concerns when it comes to war veterans and injured defence personnel. So if they don’t come through with it I’m going to ask for a royal commission … on the management practices of Veterans Affairs. Because it’s way overdue.”

She put her eventual win down to major party disillusionment. It leaves the Liberals and Labor each returning two senators, and the Greens one from Tasmania.

“I think people have had enough, and they’re sick of the lies. Come out and tell the truth. if you cannot achieve something come out and tell people you cannot achieve them, and then swing back around and see if you can fix the problem.

“Walking around and not being held accountable for your decisions – that’s not good enough.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.

Memoir of a prime minister: Julia Gillard to lift the lid on parliament

November 10th, 2018

Portrait of Julia Gillard when she was Prime Minister of Australia. Photo: Nic Walker & Louie DouvisLife after parliament: Julia explains what’s next
Nanjing Night Net

Australia’s biggest publishing house, Penguin Random House, has stolen the march on its competitors and is to publish the much-anticipated memoirs of the nation’s first female prime minister, Julia Gillard.

Gillard has promised to give a frank account of her six years as deputy Labor leader, deputy prime minister and prime minister in a book to be published in October 2014.

Still immaculately groomed in her prime ministerial style, Gillard said in a promotional video she had wanted to commit to the memoir while the events of her political career were “emotionally and intellectually fresh to me”.

The memoir will be “my words direct”, written by Gillard herself, and will weave together the personal and political but will not be an intimate autobiography reaching back to her childhood and school days.

Instead, she wanted to answer questions constantly put to her about her motivations and how she coped with political life. While she thought it might be a struggle at times writing her account of her days in parliament, she said she enjoyed writing and was a “good typist” because her mother insisted she learn as a teenager so she could always get a job.

Gillard had recently been rumoured to be in talks with Penguin. Wednesday’s announcement by Gabrielle Coyne, chief executive officer of the newly merged Penguin Random House, represents the first major signing to the mega publisher.

The book will be published under the Knopf imprint of Random House Australia and is scheduled for publication in October 2014.

Nikki Christer, Random House Australia’s publishing director, said she was delighted and honoured to be publishing the memoir.

“There is much in Julia Gillard’s life and parliamentary legacy to be admired and debated,” she said. “In any reckoning of her achievements, both before and after becoming prime minister, this book, written by her and told in her own words, will be essential. I most certainly expect it to be not only one of the most anticipated books of 2014 but also one that is read and studied for a very long time.”

Gillard, who approached Coyne, said she will be touring the book when it is released. Without naming her political nemesis Kevin Rudd, Gillard said she wanted to distil for readers her achievements and her mistakes – “what drove me, where I erred; my personal resilience and how I coped”.

“I want to share my perspective on the issues of our times and how I strove to make a difference for the better every day I had the privilege of serving as prime minister,” she said in an accompanying statement. “I will also write about changing our nation and future challenges in the years ahead.”

Gabrielle Coyne said: “Ms Gillard’s personal and professional journey so far is a unique one. Many of us have observed the conviction and resilience that drove her commitment to the Labor cause and public policy debate in Australia and abroad for nearly two decades. It is a genuine privilege to be given the opportunity to work with her to help bring her story to readers in Australia and around the world.”

This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.