Compiled by Patrick Avenell

The spate of natural disasters that hit Australia during the end 2010 and early 2011 has prompted Telstra to launch an information service to keep consumers informed about outages and service restoration.

Telstra executive director of network and IT operations Craig Hancock said it would mean relevant news and updates could be accessed without having to call Telstra directly.

 “We understand communication is vital during a disaster and we pride ourselves on our response during these times. This website will help us give people the information they need at a time that suits them,” Hancock said.

 “Customers can access the information at their convenience, without calling Telstra or waiting on the next news bulletin. It will also allow family and friends who may be concerned about people in disaster areas to check on the network.

iiNet has released its BoB2 device, which is not related to the successful US rapper BoB. This all-in-one unit combines a home phone, internet modem, a Wi-Fi router, and an answering machine.

Also new from iiNet is the Wireless Bridge, which can stream content between any BoB modem and a FetchTV set top box.

Here’s a breathless iiNet Labs GM Steve Harley.

“More than 4,500 customers told us what they wanted from a modem router and BoB2 is the result,” he said. “I don't know the word for better than awesome, but BoB2 is it.”

The BoB2 is RRP $279, the Wireless Bridge is RRP $119.

Click here to sign up for our FREE daily newsletter

Research in Motion (RIM) is offering existing customer up to $120 credit to trade-up to a new BlackBerry device: either the Bold or the Torch.

Users are asked what BlackBerry handset they are using, their carrier and the state of their phone (fully functional, damage, corrosion et cetera), and a quote is then automatically generated.

There are two phones to choose from in this trade-up promotion: the Torch 9800 and the Bold 9780.

As with all consumer promotions, there are stacks of caveats and conditions, so check the official RIM site for full details.

Tonight is Harvey Norman and Fujifilm's last chance to bask in the glow of State of Origin for 2011. Both the retailer and the camera brand have received enormous exposure from this partnership. Look out for their signage while watching the game tonight, which kicks off just after 8pm. Patrick's tip: New South Wales by 1 point.


Also on today:

Harvey Norman to sell cameras at a new expo
Belkin ANZ appoints new MD
Samsung Galaxy S II and HTC Sensation on Telstra
Contour talks about gadgets in the Aussie lifestyle