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ACS Week In Review: 17 January 2014

Friday, 17 Jan 2014

ACS offices around Australia re-opened this week, and on behalf of the entire ACS we hope you had a refreshing and happy Christmas and New Year period. On January 1, the ACS Presidency was assumed by Brenda Aynsley, who will be able supported by the Vice Presidents, Congress, MC, staff and volunteers.

Las Vegas CES unveils heaps of gadgets

At this year's Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, it was all about wearable gadgets, upgraded tablets and the connected home. Big screen ultra high-definition (UHD) televisions, ones that curve and others that recognise who you are using facial recognition were also prominent fixtures at the tech fair.

Following the show, we take a look at the gadgets that impressed us the most.

NZ ICT sector faces ‘dire’ skills shortage

In the wake of the release of New Zealand's 2014 Occupation Outlook by education and employment minister Steven Joyce, the CEO of IT services company Fronde, Ian Clarke, has said that there is a dire shortage of highly skilled IT professionals in the country.

Joyce said construction, engineering, information and communications technology (ICT), science and the primary sector are the hottest careers for 2014. Some of the fastest job growth was expected in the ICT sector, highlighting the increasing importance of the sector to New Zealand’s growing economy.

“As a major employer of IT professionals, employing over 330 people across New Zealand and Australia, we face the same number one challenge as a lot of others in the industry – the dire shortage of highly skilled IT professionals – despite the fulfilling and lucrative careers the sector delivers,” Clarke said.

ACS members should check out the ACS Skills Whitepaper here

Atlassian’s UK move ‘overblown’: Turnbull

Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull has downplayed Atlassian's decision to relocate to the United Kingdom for better tax treatment than it gets in Australia, but has said that more can be done to encourage startups in Australia.

On January 29, shareholders in the Australian-based software company will vote on whether to move its head operations to the UK, which the company's founders Scott Farquhar and Michael Cannon-Brookes believe would allow the company to grow and potentially look towards a US initial public offering.

The move has reignited questions about the sustainability of Australia's technology startup sector, and the support it is receiving from the government to stay local. In an interview withZDNet in February last year, Farquhar himself said that tax laws in Australia are not helpful for startups.

"I think the local tax laws are a struggle, and I think equity-raising laws are a struggle, too. I'd like to see more of the policy changes to make the startup scene better," he said.

"Most people, including myself, would recommend to startups to incorporate their companies overseas. I think the government can do a lot more with startups, and I'll keep pounding on that until we see some meaningful traction."

Tough questions should be asked of cloud providers: Garrett

When you run software in the cloud, not only do you have the same security concerns as traditional IT architectures — trusting the silicon, the firmware, and an operating system, as well as the usual array of daemons — but now you have to trust the hypervisor and worry about the security of other guests on the same hardware, Matthew Garrett, Linux kernel developer and cloud security developer at Nebula, told the audience of yesterday.

Delivering the Thursday keynote, Garrett said that while cloud computing usage has increased, and users are trusting it more and more, few still have the faintest idea of what it is.

"There are people that think of the cloud as just being any remote datastore, there are people who think of cloud computing in terms of virtualisation, there are people for whom the cloud is just 'well, there's a magic box somewhere that contains my data, I don't know where'," he said.

"People running tablet operating systems are often not running anything particularly interesting on the tablet, and that means that the attack surface is much smaller. If all my personal data is in the cloud instead, then isn't that going to be better? I don't have to worry about how much I can trust my device, all I have to do is trust the cloud."