Over the last couple of months, the team here at WPDownUnder has been featuring some of the high-profile government departments, corporations and agencies who have been simply ignoring the existence of the #wp8au community – who simply want app parity with their iFruit and Droidrage brethren (see here, here and here). But there are a couple of government departments who have been quietly pushing out apps to the Windows Phone community. One of those has been the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).
When the ATO’s app first launched for Windows Phone last year, we covered it here exclusively. At that time, the app clearly looked like a direct port from iOS and offered fairly basic functionality. What a difference 9 months makes.
The ATO has just released version 4.0 of the app to the Windows Phone Store and since we last looked at this app, the app has received a fresh coat of paint.
One of the ongoing frustrations for Aussies around technology and media is the ongoing practice by corporations of “geo-blocking” or delaying regional availability of features or content which is available in other markets. Geo-blocking, like Blu-Ray and DVD region codes, allows for differentiated global market releases, pricing and copyright control. Likewise, whether it is media-streaming services available in the states or smartphone operating system features like the new “Cortana” digital assistant on Windows Phone 8.1 Developer Preview, Australia as a small market typically lags months or years behind the US availability.
Bypassing Geo-blocks to access US based content services is nothing new – however many may not have released that if you live in Australia, have an Xbox One – and want to subscribe to (or already have) selected US Entertainment streaming service paid access….that you can access this content directly on your console and big-screen TV right now.
Here’s how to do it.
It’s been some time since our last post on the #OurABCToo campaign. 5 months next week to be exact. Five months of soul-destroying indifference, lack of professionalism and simple rudeness by the ABC in regards to our inquiries on this matter.
Despite the collaborative, pro-active and considered initial attempts to engage and obtain feedback from the ABC on the matter of Windows Phone 8 Apps, even basic IE web compatibility for major ABC services, it took escalating levels of drastic action to even begin to see some action on this by the ABC in March 2014.
Following weeks and months of frustration, it appears we are finally on the cusp of some actual real, two-way dialogue with them on these issues.
Read on for more – and what you can do to help.