crikey

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Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 7 to Sunday 13 April 2014 was astoundingly busy and productive. Yes, Heartbleed is to blame. But so is completely ignoring medical advice — which is something I’ll write about next week.

While there’s a lot on my mind that I want to tell you about, I’ve been churning out so many blog posts today, and so many articles about Heartbleed in recent days, and drinking so much wine relaxing across the weekend, that I can’t be arsed saying anything more.

So here’s the list.

Articles

Every single thing that I wrote this week was about the Heartbleed security bug.

Media Appearances

5at5

I managed to pump out another five this week, although one of them was on the weekend. Why don’t you subscribe to 5at5, and then I don’t need to keep telling you about it.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, some of the people at UTS bought me coffees and lunch. Does that count as largesse?

The Week Ahead

I have no idea. The only things that have been locked in are being in Sydney on Thursday morning so I can be a panellist on this week’s Download This Show for ABC Radio National, which is being recorded at 1100, and of course it’s Good Friday and then the Easter weekend, so in theory I shouldn’t be working.

The reality, however, is that Easter is a shitty time for freelancers, because public holidays mean a serious drop in revenue — and I’m already rather stressed about March having been a quieter month than planned.

But I’ll figure it out, just not tonight.

Oh, and there’s a lunar eclipse on Tuesday.

[Photo: Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, photographed at dusk near Wentworth Falls on 8 April 2014.]

Heartbleed logoNothing has appeared here since Weekly Wrap 200 last Sunday — including the update to my guest lecture at UTS from Monday — because my work schedule has been dominated by the Heartbleed internet security bug.

There’s a lot that’ll appear here in the coming three days, and not just the UTS lecture. There’s radio spots that I did with ABC 720 Perth, ABC 783 Alice Springs, 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide, ABC Radio’s The World Today, and ABC 702 Sydney, for starters, plus links to the stories I’ve written on Heartbleed — one for Crikey and four for ZDNet Australia — although clever possums will know that they’re already listed on the media page.

In the background, I’ve also been sketching out ideas for a Pozible crowdfunding campaign or two, continuing from the one I did last year, to resurrect Corrupted Nerds and The 9pm Edict. Stay tuned.

I guess I shouldn’t whinge about Heartbleed killing my schedule. Some people have to do the really hard programming and systems administration work to clean up the mess, not just write and talk about it, and the extra work is heartbleeding revenue straight into my pocket.

Sydney skyline, with frigate: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 17 to Sunday 23 March 2014 was a busy one, and moderately productive. I am happy with it.

Apart from the media objects listed here, I did quite a bit of background work on a SEKRIT project that I’ll announce on Tuesday. The only hint for now is that it’s something that quite a few people have been wanting for a while now.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

We’re back up to four out of five days being published. Excellent.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday I went to an event with a delightful name: Dell Australia’s Steak, Storage & Solutions Media & Analyst Lunch at Kingsley’s Steak & Crabhouse in Woolloomooloo. Obviously they paid for the food and wine.
  • On Tuesday I went to a media briefing by Imperva at Wolfies Restaurant, Circular Quay, where of course they paid for the food and wine. Imperva also gave us: A rather nice branded notebook; a branded pen; and a well-made carry bag to put them in. M.Tech, one of Imperva’s channel partners, gave us: A branded water bottle, carry bag, and business card holder.
  • On Tuesday I finally got around to checking my postbox, where I discovered that Sourcefire had sent me a six-pack of Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and a branded bottle opened / key ring to open them with. Thanks for that.

The Week Ahead

It’ll be a busy week. Indeed, it’s the first week of a challenging three months ahead. I’ll tell you more about that later, but one key issue is that I need to decide how I’ll ramp up my revenue in the coming quarter. I have plenty of ideas, I just have to choose — and choose wisely.

On Monday I’ll be doing the final planning for the SEKRIT thing to be announced on Tuesday, as well as speaking with my editors about their needs for the next month or so.

On Wednesday I’m heading into Sydney for a few things, including the SANS Australia Community Night presentation Why Do Organisations Get Compromised? I’ll then stay in Sydney overnight, and on Thursday I’ll write my ZDNet Australia column before heading back up the hill.

Friday has been kept clear for work on my legacy business Prussia.Net, although that may change. The weekend is currently unplanned.

[Photo: Sydney skyline, with frigate, 17 March 2014, being a photograph taken from the steps leading from Potts Point down to Woolloomoloo. In the background is the Sydney CBD. In the foreground, mostly hidden behind trees, is a Royal Australian Navy frigate docked at Fleet Base East.]

ABC logoMid-morning today I received a phone call from ABC journalist David Mark, who was after a backgrounder on the Tor network the lunchtime current affairs program The World Today. His call brought me the news of what appears to be a significant win in the battle against online child exploitation.

Fourteen arrests were made as part of Operation Round Table, which according to the (American) ABC, was an investigation led by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), US Postal Inspection Service and federal authorities in Louisiana.

The roughly 250 victims were spread across 39 states and five other countries — Australia, Belgium, Britain, Canada and New Zealand. Most were boys between 13 and 15. Two victims were 3 or younger, authorities said.

The pornographic images were shared on an underground website on the Tor network, an online anonymity network that masks the location of servers and conceals an Internet user’s location. The subscription-based website operated from about June 2012 until June 2013, had more than 27,000 members and shared more than 2,000 webcam-captured videos, mostly of young boys, authorities said.

There’s further material in the (Australian) ABC story, Australian victims among 251 identified in ‘members only’ child porn website.

The World Today ran Mark’s four-minute story, including comments from US secretary of homeland security Jeh Johnson, and federal attorney-general for Louisiana Kenneth Polite, as well as my own small contribution.

Play

The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, served here directly from their website —– where you can also read a full transcript.

If you’d like some more information on how Tor works, and how users’ mistakes can lead to their anonymity being rather less effective than they’d hoped, my Crikey Clarifier: how the FBI hacked users of Tor, the ‘secret internet’ from August 2013 could be a useful starting-point.

Sydney airport before dawn: click for original imageMy week of Monday 10 to Sunday 16 February 2014 isn’t quite finished, but today is effectively the start of a new working week so… well, here we are. Before breakfast at Sydney Airport. Or right next to it. Call it a wrap of Monday to Saturday.

It seems that I switched from early-month torpor to late-month productivity around mid-week. We’ll see how that pans out over the next few days. But I do think I’m starting to identity a clear pattern here.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

I suppose I should give better prominence to 5at5, the “email letter” that I started two weeks ago. I’ve actually managed to stick to the daily routine — albeit with some wobbliness in the “around 5pm Sydney time” part of the deal — and it seems like people are liking it. Enjoy.

Corporate Largesse

  • Today I’m heading to the Gold Coast for the three-day Tech Leaders Forum 2014, formerly known as Kickstart Forum, an event I’ve attended in previous years. The event organisers cover my airfares and accommodation, and there’s usually plenty of food and drink and various freebies from the vendors who pay for it all. I’ll list all of the largesse next week so it’s all in the one place.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be on the Gold Coast through until Tuesday evening, fully occupied with the aforementioned event. I’ll then return to the Blue Mountains for a solid week of writing. There’s nothing locked in for Sydney at this stage, but of course that may change.

[Photo: Sydney airport before dawn, taken shortly before the post was published.]

Eucalypt Bark 4: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 27 January to Sunday 2 February 2014 was, as I’d suspected it would be, the clear beginning of the start of the working year.

OK, the week hasn’t quite finished yet. It’s still relatively early on Sunday. But the day will be spent pottering around various work-related things, so I feel confident about that opening paragraph.

It’s pretty much an Australian tradition that the media silly season ends on Australia Day — although I did see someone suggest that in Sydney the summer holiday season runs from the Queen’s Birthday long weekend in early October through to the Mardi Gras parade at the cusp of February-March. We are a proud nation.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Tuesday I spoke about Bitcoin, in the light of the arrests of a Bitcoin evangelist and a currency trader on money laundering charges, on ABC Radio’s The World Today.

Corporate Largesse

None. I’m clearly doing this wrong.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be in the Blue Mountains until Friday, in all likelihood. It’s the first week of a new month, so I daresay I’ll be keeping a low profile because none of those bastard clients have paid their invoices yet.

My writing slate includes two columns for ZDNet Australia, one for Corrupted Nerds — that’s one of the two pieces I still owe my Pozible supporters — and probably one for CSO Online.

I’m also doing the research and scripting for a panel discussion I’m moderating the week after — that’s due to be announced on Monday.

[Photo: Eucalypt Bark , photographed on 27 January 2014 at Bunjaree Cottages near Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains.]

I’m claiming that January presented clear signs that I’m reversing the decline of revenue that I’d been suffering, thanks to depression and arsehattery — something that I’ve become very aware of in recent months.

If you don’t like these personal reflections that I write from time to time, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

I started this planning process at the end of 2012, because I’d noticed that until then I hadn’t actually been planning my media work, let alone taking the next step of having some kind of strategy.

I’d just plodded along doing much the same thing every week. If an income stream died, I did no real work to replace it. When new work was offered, I generally took it on unless the idea was clearly daft.

You can see what happened in my newly-updated “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I did for each masthead, regardless of complexity or income.

Chart of media objects produced by Stilgherrian since 2011

Read the rest of this entry »

I'm sure it isn't meant to look like this: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 13 to Sunday 19 January 2014 was a little less productive than planned, but I did knock off a couple of items about Net Neutrality.

The productivity plunge was largely down to me changing medication for depression. It’s always a bit of a roller coaster ride as you change from one drug to another, lasting a week or more, and this was no exception. Looking ahead in time to the present, though, I’m thinking we may have gotten it right this time. Fingers crossed.

But my mood was also hit by a potential technical disaster. I knocked my MacBook Pro off the table once too often, and instead of the MagSafe plug popping out of the power socked as it should have, it jammed — and the plug itself was torn in half.

I stressed and stressed and stressed — until I realised I had access to a spare power adapter and, using that, discovered that the computer still worked as it should. Big sigh of relief.

Articles

I also wrote an op-ed on Sunday afternoon, but since it wasn’t published until Monday it’ll appear in next week’s wrap.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None. But it’ll definitely start flowing again soon.

[Photo: I'm sure it isn't meant to look like this, showing the accumulated damage to my MacBook Pro on 13 January 2014.]

ABC logoThe concept of Net Neutrality was in the news earlier this month: a US federal court struck down the Net Neutrality rules that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) had introduced in 2010.

On 16 January I spoke about the issue on ABC Radio National Breakfast with Jonathan Green, and here’s the audio.

A US Court of Appeals ruling in Washington DC is being seen as a major blow to proponents of an open internet.

In ruling described as “even more emphatic and disastrous than anyone expected”, the court found internet service providers had every right to play favourites with their clients.

That could mean slowing speeds for services in competition with their own services and potentially charging higher fees to allow access to premium speeds.

Play

I must admit, I feel like I rambled a bit. As we started the conversation, my mobile phone link went dodgy, and the producer had to phone me back. We started the interview after a break — that’s been edited out of this version — but it threw me a bit. I’m not sure that I recovered.

Still, I think we got through the key points, and later in the morning I wrote something more coherent for Crikey, Net neutrality and why the internet might have just changed forever.

The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is served here directly from their website.

Here’s the key stuff that happened in my week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 December 2013.

As I mentioned last time, I’ll do some sort of more detailed post explaining the state of the world — or at least my little bit of it — once I’ve caught up on these posts.

Articles

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday I went to Verizon’s lunchtime briefing on their predicted trends for 2014 at Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney. There was food and wine.
  • On Wednesday I went to Symantec’s end-of-year media lunch at Gowings Bar and Grill at Sydney’s QT Hotel. There was food and wine.
  • On Wednesday afternoon I continued on to McAfee in the Park, held in the Rose Garden at Sydney’s Royal Botanic Gardens. There was food and wine. Are you detecting a pattern here? There was also a lion.
  • On Thursday I went to Websense’s lunchtime briefing on their security predictions for 2014 at Wolfies, Circular Quay. There was food and wine.

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