Uniquely Samsung: Two new Galaxy phablets avoid many of the company’s past pitfalls. Photo: SamsungSamsung’s latest high-end smartphones, the Galaxy Note 5 and Galaxy S6 Edge+, are two sides of the same coin. On paper, their specs look identical, but each phone provides a very different experience.
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The Note 5 continues the tradition of the Note line-up: a smartphone large enough and powerful enough to replace a phone, tablet or even a computer. The S6 Edge+ pushes the “edge” branding into the luxury phone market.

Internally, the Note 5 and Edge+ share the same powerful processors and an abundance of RAM. Externally, they have the same 5.7-inch Quad HD Super AMOLED display.

Both have a curved body: the Note 5 curves around the back for better grip while the Edge+ curves on the front to dazzle.

If the Note 5 is the workhorse, the Edge+ is the show pony.

These massive phones come with massive batteries, easily making it through a full day of high use with power to spare. The Edge+ and Note 5 support fast charging, too, topping up a dead battery in 90 minutes. Combined, these features should alleviate battery anxiety for even the most power-hungry users.

The Note 5’s signature feature is the S Pen, a fine-point stylus that allows for digital note taking. It’s a seamless experience, with the note-taking app launching as soon as you remove the S Pen from the inbuilt holder.

The S Pen works even when the screen is locked, allowing for quick notes on the go or for less intrusive note taking: for example, in a lecture theatre or jotting down some thoughts while your partner sleeps beside you.

It works well, but I quickly realised after years of using keyboards and touchscreens that my handwriting has become unintelligible. And it turns out I’m a lot faster with a predictive text keyboard, so the Note 5 is probably not for me.

Still, I understand the appeal. Taking notes on a smartphone with a standard on-screen keyboard is still seen by many as distracting, and doing so in a meeting can give the impression you’re not paying attention. After all, no one knows if you’re taking notes or just browsing Facebook. However, when you take out a stylus, everyone assumes you’re taking notes. A pen, even when digital, lends some credibility.

The S Pen doesn’t just work with the built-in notes app either. It can be used to mark up documents, draw on photos and sign PDFs. The Note 5 comes preloaded with Acrobat and Microsoft’s Office suite, so most users will feel familiar with the apps on offer.

Powering these apps are an octa core 64-bit processor and 4GB of RAM. It’s overkill, but it makes for phones that fly through mobile tasks. Both phones support the latest 4G “Cat 9” technology, promising mobile internet of up to 450mbps; that’s probably 20 times faster than a home ADSL connection.

The thumbprint reader in the Samsung line-up is as good as those in iPhones and it’s a shame flagship phones from LG, Motorola and Sony don’t feature a similar reader. Combined with a password manager like LastPass, a thumbprint reader is a killer security feature.

The Galaxy S6 Edge+ is simply a bigger S6 Edge. The curved-screen Edge is still the most beautiful piece of mobile technology I’ve seen this year.

The Note 5 and S6 Edge+ have the same fantastic camera we found in the Samsung S6 this year. The camera features a fast f1.9 aperture lens, optical image stabilisation and an impressive HDR. That adds up to a camera that produces fantastic results with little effort.

It’s great to see Android phones taking on the iPhone for camera supremacy and the curved-screen Edge shows off your snaps better than anything else.

Interface design used to be Samsung’s Achilles heel, but to the company’s credit, it’s toned down much of the excess of TouchWiz. TouchWiz for Android Lollipop is a clean, light experience, made cleaner still by the use of a “stock Lollipop theme” available through the Galaxy Theme Store.

I used to spend the first few minutes with any Samsung phone replacing the default apps, launcher and keyboard; trying to hide TouchWiz as much as possible. This is no longer necessary. The built-in apps, notifications and settings are tastefully designed, but being an Android phone, you’re more than welcome to swap these things out.

For a company so often dismissed for borrowing the ideas of others, the Note 5 and S6 Edge+ are uniquely Samsung. If taking notes with a stylus is your thing, no other handset will serve you as well as the Note 5, and there is no other handset quite as gorgeous as the curved screen S6 Edge and S6 Edge+.

Samsung Galaxy Note 5 (32GB) – $1099

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (32GB) – $1199

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge+ (64GB) – $1299

Peter Wells is a technology commentator who works in IT at UNSW Australia.

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“I think we can build a very profitable and successful company in a world that commits itself more strongly to limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees.” : BHP chief Andrew Mackenzie. Photo: Stefan PostlesBHP Billiton chief executive Andrew Mackenzie says he expects some level of consensus to emerge when world leaders gather in Paris in November for the United Nations climate change conference.
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Speaking from London on Tuesday, Mr Mackenzie said BHP expected to play its part in region by region climate targets, should consensus for such targets emerge from the Paris conference.

“We think there will be a degree of consensus around a range of region by region, or country by country, targets, and we will be very much part of that,” he said.

“I think we can build a very profitable and successful company in a world that commits itself more strongly to limit the temperature rise to 2 degrees.”

Despite being one of the world’s biggest coal miners and a major producer of oil and gas, BHP has long accepted science that suggests humans are influencing the climate by releasing greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.

But the company has walked a policy tightrope in recent years, and campaigned for Australia’s carbon tax to be repealed on the grounds that it harmed the international competitiveness of Australian exporters.

It has also argued that fossil fuels will continue to be the energy source of choice for many in the developing world, despite the challenges of climate change.

BHP has been investing heavily in carbon capture and storage and hopes it can be proved viable and can allow long term use of coal.

“We have a portfolio that I think can respond to whatever is the most effective way to decarbonise the energy sector and it is not just simply down to the sources of the energy but the technology that abates things and the regulation that actually encourages things,” said Mr Mackenzie on Tuesday.

“We are in everything, whether it is nuclear power (uranium), or copper which does best with windmills and solar, or of course all forms of fossil fuels and we do invest in things like carbon capture and storage so I think we are able to respond.”

Fossil fuel producers have been split in the lead-up to the Paris conference, with big energy companies like Woodside Petroleum and Norwegian company Statoil urging the world to abandon coal in favour of gas as a way to reduce emissions.

Mr Mackenzie has been one of several coal producers to criticise the comments, labelling it a “marketing strategy” and a “rich country solution”.

“I think there is a marketing ploy, which is ‘give up coal and burn more gas’,” Mr Mackenzie told the FT.

“The last time I looked there was plenty of carbon in methane and there is huge amounts of carbon in oil, and the carbon emissions from transport are just as much a problem as the carbon emissions from coal-fired power stations.”

Australia has vowed to reduce carbon emissions by between 26 and 28 per cent from 2005 levels, and do so by 2030.


Let there be no more doubt about it. China is currently the dominant, driving force behind global markets.
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And for irrefutable proof of that, look to the images the financial press is using to illustrate the latest global meltdown.

There was a time when the stock image used by news outlets for a global market crash was a floor trader on Wall Street (almost always a man) perhaps with his head in his hands, or with a kind of despair on his face that suggests he has lost a lot of money. Like this AP photo:

No more.

Consider the way the latest global market seizure is being portrayed by some of the world’s pre-eminent financial news services.

There’s a common theme in the pictures currently adorning those websites this morning: Random Chinese people looking very worried.

Take The Financial Times today:

Or The Economist, which uses this AFP shot to continue the ancient tradition of anonymous-back-of-person’s-head-looking-at-screen-with-red-on-it, only in China.

Even the website of The Wall Street Journal, that bastion of American business, is not (currently) leading with an image of the NYSE, despite the fact that the US market fell sharply overnight.

Images like this one from Getty Images are everywhere this week:

Or this one from AP:

To be clear, the old images of Wall Street traders are still being used in some places. And perhaps it shouldn’t be that surprising that the world’s finance press is using a lot of Chinese images to illustrate an unfolding crisis that is clearly Chinese in origin.

But it does feel strangely significant, like the passing of the torch in the way financial markets are covered, if not how they actually operate.

Over the past decade, citizens of China have embraced the stockmarket with fervour, which is at odds with the fact that the country remains, at least officially, communist. It’s the first time really Chinese investors feel the sharemarket rollercoaster in its full force.

And in previous eras, images of Chinese citizens reactions to crises (economic or otherwise)  were relatively hard to come by.

To put it more simply, in 2015, random Chinese person looking worried is the new Wall Street guy looking worried

And that’s arguably a good thing. The images being used almost always feature ordinary Chinese folk, which is a more honest portrayal of who is affected the most than what has been used in the past.

By contrast, the use of New York Stock Exchange Floor traders to illustrate previous market crashes was always a bit misleading.

Not much actual trading takes place on America’s most historic stock exchange, which is located, literally, on Wall Street. It is mostly done by computers. This reality prompted the US website Marketwatch to declare last year it would no longer use images of floor traders in its reporting on market crashes.

It seems that is what is slowly beginning to happen the world over.


Christine Crickitt, alleged murdered by her husband Dr Brian Crickitt between 31 December 2009 and 1 January 2010. Photo: SuppliedA Sydney GP charged with the murder of his then-wife is fighting for the right to continue treating patients while he is on bail.
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Dr Brian Crickitt was charged in December with the murder of his wife, Christine, 61, at their home in Woodbine, in south-west Sydney, five years earlier.

Police alleged Dr Crickitt, who was also his wife’s treating doctor, caused her death by injecting fast-acting insulin between 8pm on December 31, 2009 and 8.15am on January 1, 2010.

In a fact sheet tendered to the court, police said Dr Crickitt had a number of motives for wanting his wife dead, such as large financial gain including a $500,000 life insurance policy, “loathing of his wife” and his affair with another woman.

He had allegedly researched insulin overdose on his computer and illegally prescribed and collected fast-acting insulin in the name of one of his patients on New Year’s Eve 2009 before “deactivating” the script on his computer to hide its creation.

He was charged on December 3, 2014 and granted conditional bail in Campbelltown Local Court the same day.

In an urgent meeting convened two weeks later the Medical Council of NSW suspended his registration as a medical practitioner with immediate effect to protect both the public and the reputation of the medical profession. At the time Dr Crickitt was working as a GP at the Campbelltown Medical and Dental Centre and had been practicing medicine for almost 35 years.

Dr Crickitt appealed the decision to the NSW Civil and Administrative Tribunal, arguing he is innocent until proven guilty and needs to earn an income. He says he intends to vigorously defend the murder charge.

In written reasons for their decision to suspend Dr Crickitt, published in January, the three-person panel appointed by the council said they had “no immediate concerns” that he posed a clinical risk to the health and safety of any person.

However, they were concerned about the impact of the allegations made against the appellant “on the standing and reputation of the medical profession and public confidence in the profession and its regulation”.

The delegates focused attention on the need for the public to be able to trust the medical profession and have confidence “that it is properly and adequately regulated”.

A coronial inquest into the death was held at the Glebe Coroners Court in May and December 2011 with an open finding. Then State Coroner Mary Jerram found on the evidence that the cause or the manner of Mrs Crickitt’s death could not be determined.

The inquest heard the Crickitts had been married for 15 years but the relationship had become “dysfunctional” and on New Year’s Eve 2009 they fought for several hours before Dr Crickitt packed a bag and left.

Dr Crickitt originally told police he was driving around Campbelltown for hours but later admitted he’d been at the home of his mistress, Linda Livermore.

He said he returned home at 8.15am on January 1, 2010 to find his wife’s body. He then went to Glebe morgue with Ms Livermore to view the body, a move that Mrs Crickitt’s son Stuart Riley told the inquest was “disrespectable [sic] and dishonourable”.

Records made available by Medicare indicate that during the period from 1988 to 2009 Dr Crickitt treated and prescribed medication for his wife, who had a range of illnesses including arthritis, Graves’ disease, depression and bipolar disorder.

During hearings before the NCAT in March, June and earlier this month, the Medical Council opposed Dr Crickitt’s appeal against suspension, saying even if Dr Crickitt is ultimately acquitted of his wife’s murder, patients might feel distress and anxiety and even fail to seek medical advice due to their lack of confidence in the medical profession. But Dr Crickitt said the suspension was depriving him of his livelihood.

The NCAT dismissed Dr Crickitt’s appeal to overturn the suspension for now. It also decided to allow the council to reopen its case and adduce fresh evidence about an alleged relationship of some kind between Dr Crickitt and a former patient, the adequacy of his clinical records and the fact that he had seemingly socialised with his patients.

Dr Crickitt’s appeal hearing will resume on September 25.

He will face a committal hearing on the murder charge in Campbelltown Local Court on October 9.


Sara Limbu initially thought a vehicle had backfired, before learning a gunman had opened fire. Photo: Peter Rae The bullet hole in the window of Billu’s Indian Eatery in Wigram Street, Harris Park. Photo: Peter Rae
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A bullet that was fired through the front window of a crowded Indian restaurant in Sydney’s west missed hitting diners by just centimetres, in what police have described as a remarkable stroke of luck.

Sara Limbu was at Billu’s Indian Eatery in Harris Park with her husband and three children on Tuesday night celebrating her husband’s birthday when a gunman fired a shot through the front window just before 9pm.

Mrs Limbu said she and her husband were standing at the front of the shop on Wigram Street ordering a traditional Indian dessert when they heard what at first they mistook for a vehicle backfiring on the street.

It was not until a short time later that they realised the noise was in fact a bullet, which had pierced the front window just centimetres from where they had been standing.

The bullet struck a shelf inside the restaurant, remarkably missing any of the estimated 40 diners and staff who were in the restaurant.

“We saw there was a hole in the window, somebody put a bullet through the window. It was cracked,” Mrs Limbu told Fairfax Media.

“We realised it was really close, it was close to us.

“It was a bit scary, I was shocked. I was with my family and three children.”

Mrs Limbu said she and her husband had been ordering the Indian dessert paan at the time the shot was fired. A sign on the front fence of Billu’s Indian Eatery says: “Keep calm and eat paan.”

Police said the gunman, dressed in a blue tracksuit, was seen running from the restaurant and is believed to have nearly knocked over a woman at a pedestrian crossing on Wigram Street.

Police want to speak to her in the hope she can help them identify the offender, who has not been caught.

Detectives are understood to be investigating if the shooting was a targeted attack, and are interviewing staff and customers who were in the restaurant.

NSW Police Inspector Adam Phillips told the ABC that it was extremely lucky no one inside the restaurant was injured.

“The frightening thing with this is that the shot that was fired … was in a particular part of the restaurant which was extremely busy,” Inspector Phillips said.

It is the second time this year a gunman on foot has fired shots in the vicinity of the restaurant.

In April, police closed Wigram Street when a man fired up to nine shots into the air on a Saturday afternoon, before fleeing.

Niti Sheh, who lives on Wigram Street, said on Wednesday morning that the latest shooting was “really scary”.

“In four months, it’s happening twice. A couple of days ago there was also a fire in the shop nearby. I don’t know what’s going on, you know?” she said.

“It’s really scary. I’m scared that I come out and I’m walking here and anything can happen.”

Ms Sheh said she was a former employee at Billu’s Indian Eatery, and was working on the day in April when the shots were fired outside the restaurant.

Ms Sheh said she saw the gunman in April stand outside the restaurant for up to 40 minutes before firing into the air.

“Me and my colleague were standing outside for half an hour and the fellow shot after some time,” she said.

She said he had fired into the air, and did not appear to be trying to hit anyone.

Ejaz Khan, the vice-president of the Harris Park Chamber of Commerce, said he believed the shootings were gang related.

Mr Khan said he ate at Billu’s on Tuesday night, but left about 30 minutes before the shooting.

“I can’t believe this. This is the third incident in the last couple of months in Harris Park, and I believe strongly that there are criminal gangs working in this area,” he said.

Police are appealing for anyone who saw the offender to come forward, in particular the woman who was nearly knocked to the ground at the pedestrian crossing.

Police described her as being Indian or subcontinental in appearance, aged between 25 and 30, and she was wearing a pink top.

Anyone with information has been urged to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or visit the Crime Stoppers online reporting page. */]]>