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Hot News in IT this week

Simon Eskow, TechBlog Editor. 28 November 2014, 7:00 am

Some highlights from the last seven days in IT News...

This Year's High Flyer  

A US-based New Zealand-born scientist and researcher has been inducted into New Zealand's Hi-Tech Hall of Fame. Dr Catherine Mohr serves as the Director of Medical Research for Intuitive Surgical in San Francisco, and specialises in developing surgical robotics technology. Mohr was born in Dunedin, and although she moved to the United States with her family as a child, she retains her New Zealand citizenship. She began her career as an engineer, receiving her Bachelors and Masters of Science in mechanical engineering at MIT in Boston. Mohr also went to Stanford University School of Medicine with the aim of working at the intersection of engineering and medicine. She has served as a scientific advisor for several start-up companies in Silicon Valley and government programmes here in New Zealand. Dr Mohr has over a dozen patents to her name, is the author of numerous scientific publications, and has TED talks that have been viewed over one million times. Past inductees are:

  • 2013 Bill Buckley
  • 2012 Sir Ken Stevens
  • 2011 Brent Robinson
  • 2010 Paul Hargreaves
  • 2009 Selwyn Pellett and Rod Drury
  • 2008 Dennis Chapman, Ian Taylor, and Sir Gil Simpson
  • 2007 Trevor Eagle, and Sir William Gallagher
  • 2006 Sir Peter Maire
  • 2005 Sir Woolf Fisher and Maurice Paykel
  • 2004 Neville Jordan
  • 2003 Sir Angus Tait

HiTechNZ: Dr. Catherine Mohr Named 2014 Flying Kiwi

Techday: Surgical Robots Technologist Named 2014 Flying Kiwi

Won't you take me to Gigatown?

Dunedin beat out four other finalists in a competition for funds and discounts for building up ultrafast fibre uptake. Dunedin will receive access to One Gigabit per second internet access at entry level wholesale prices for three years; $200,000 to support entrepreneurs and innovators taking new services to market over the gigabit fibre connection in Gigatown; and $500,000 over three years for organisations that showcase how gigabit infrastructure and UFB can be activated for community programs. Other towns in the running were Wanaka, Gisborne, Nelson and Timaru. Finalists competed on creating a written application and video outlining the town's ''Plan for Gig Success", describing how they would use high speed fibre to stimulate the local economy and add social benefits to the community. The competition was launched last year, with 50 municipalities in the running. Wanaka says it is pressing ahead with a number of its initiatives despite missing out on the national Gigatown ultra-fast broadband (UFB) competition. The town plans to open a new incubator-style facility in its old police station, to give entrepreneurs office space, mentoring, and investment contacts.

Computerworld: Dunedin Mayor Comments on Winning Gigatown Competition

Otago Daily Times: Dunedin Wins Gigatown

Scoop: Wanaka Goes Ahead with Projects, Despite Gigatown Loss


Kiwi Tech Firms Rock Fast 500

Voyager Internet was the highest ranked company in the Deloitte Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific 2014 list. The networking and telecommunications company, which earlier this month was named number 1 in the Deloitte Fast 50 for New Zealand, took 23rd place in the regional listing, based on its 1391 per cent growth over three years. Software company Vend ranked 30, while I Love Ugly took 31st place in the annual report, both of which posted above 1000 per cent growth. By contrast, the number one company, South Korea-based software company Daum Kakao Corp boasted 11,618 per cent growth in the same period. Fifty one Kiwi companies made the list, with a dozen in the top 100, according to NBR. Computerworld wrote up a short profile of database and cloud services provider Enterprise IT, which came in 359th for posting 112 per cent revenue growth.

Computerworld: Growth Puts Auckland Tech Firm on Fast 500

NBR: Kiwi Firms Make Up 10 Per Cent of APAC Fast 500

To see the full list, click here.

Orion's Exchange Debut

Orion Health Group surprised investors and brokers when shares rose 14 per cent in the first day of the company's listing on the New Zealand and Australian exchanges. The health care management software maker's initial public offer raised $120 million in new capital. Orion will use the new funds to accelerate research and development, including a blue sky initiative involving big data analytics and predictive modelling software. Meanwhile, the company recently announced the winners of its second Codeworx competition. The competition calls for New Zealand school students to come up with a solution to real life or everyday problems, using the credit-card sized Raspberry Pi computer. Dylan Townsend, 14, of Mission Heights Junior College won first prize for an invention that alerts drivers to children, pets or objects on the driveway, which won him $1,250 prize money personally, and another $2,500 worth of digital equipment for his school.

For more about Codeworx, click here.

Techday: NZ Students Win in Orion Competition

Otago Dailty Times: Orion Group Share Debut Surprises

PoS-sible Problem

Cybercrime firm IntelCrawler says it has discovered a new use for malware that is designed to attack Point-of-Sale systems. The malware program called d4re|dev1| is designed to steal payment card information is said to also infect ticket vending machines and electronic kiosks, attacking multiple PoS systems including QuickBooks Point of Sale Multi-Store, OSIPOS Retail Management System, Harmony WinPOS and Figure Gemini POS. PoS malware has been directly responsible for data breaches at several large retailers over the past two years, grabbing payment card data from RAM in the PoS device. Weak security administration is said to be the most common open door for exploitation, along with policy violation by employees using terminals to use the internet.

PCWorld: POS Malware Also Targets Electronic Kiosks, Vending Machines

SC Magazine: Researchers ID POS Malware

Europe Mobilises for Net Neutrality

The Federal Communications Commission in the US is unlikely to move on net neutrality policy any time soon, but in Europe, activist groups and members of the EU Parliament are urging states to maintain strict rules to prevent the rise of tolling for faster content delivery. A group of 131 MEPs backed a letter submitted to a meeting of telecommunications ministers who are discussing Italy's plans to neuter net neutrality. "The initial impressions of your proposals concern us, as they would water down precisely those strong definitions of net neutrality and specialized services that are needed in an EU Digital Single Market," the group wrote in a letter to the Italian presidency on Wednesday. Net neutrality should be enshrined in EU law with clear definitions and strong provisions as adopted by the European Parliament in April, they said. A similar call came from 16 civil society groups that urged the Council to adopt strong net neutrality rules and reject the Italian proposal. Groups have set up a campaign website to mobilize EU citizens urging them to contact their Council representatives and tell them to back strong net neutrality.

Computerworld: Pressure Mounts in Europe for Strict Net Neutrality Rules

Computerworld: FCC Chairman Gives no Timeline for Net Neutrality Decision


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