The dreadful Sydney winter continues: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 29 June to Sunday 5 July 2015 looks less productive than it actually was. But however you measure it, it was… interesting.

I didn’t publish any new media work this week. The ZDNet feature has been held over. The 9pm Edict podcast has been held over too, because I want to get the crowdfunding campaign locked in first. That campaign has been a little more difficult to conceptualise than I first thought.

And the rest of my time was full of end-of-financial-year tasks, and the stark realisation of how many different things I’m trying to do at once. So the list of media work actually generated this week is… also stark.

But that’s only because it doesn’t include the work I did on the SEKRIT television project.

Actually it’s not that SEKRIT. There have been hints.

Articles

None published, but I did complete that ZDNet feature which is expected to appear very soon.

Podcasts

None.

5at5

Only one edition of 5at5 was published this week, on Tuesday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Actually, there won’t be any editions of 5at5 in the coming week, because I’ll be doing things that don’t lend themselves to spotting interesting things.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None. Just like it tends to dry up at the end of the financial year, it takes a while to start flowing again in the new year. It will indeed start to flow next week.

The Week Ahead

It’s going to be hectic. Damn hectic. But at least my mood should be improved by being in Sydney for the duration, rather than freezing to death in the Blue Mountains.

On Monday, I’ll be setting up the crowdfunding campaign, dealing with a pile of urgent administrivia that’s turned up like an unwanted distant relative who just expects to be a houseguest, and doing the laundry.

On Tuesday, I’ll be reviewing scripts for the SEKRIT television project, then popping in to Tanium’s Sydney office for drinks. The SEKRIT project will continue on Wednesday. If all goes well, the crowdfunding campaign will launch on Tuesday or Wednesday.

On Thursday, I’ll probably write something for ZDNet.

Friday is dominated by the SEKRIT television project and very long meeting, after which my brain will collapse. TGIF. And then I’ll have a well-earned break.

[Photo: The dreadful Sydney winter continues , being another view of the Sydney skyline from Rydges Camperdown hotel on 30 June 2015. I can sit and watch this sky for hours.]

ABC logoOn Tuesday night I spoke about the state of the art of targeted advertising on ABC Local Radio across NSW.

Presenter Dom Knight ended up talking with me for 25 minutes, covering the issues I wrote about for Crikey in Every step you take: how advertisers are monitoring your every move, plus The Atlantic’s story on how Facebook tracks the spread of political symbols.

I neglected to record the segment off the live steam, but I’ve obtained a recording made off-air. So rather than the full studio sound, you’ll hear the glory that is AM radio, with hiss and crackle and all that stuff. If a better-quality recording turns up, I’ll update this page.

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The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Another dreadful Sydney winter day: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 22 to Sunday 28 June 2015 was a disaster area. This Weekly Wrap is appallingly late as a result. And that’s why I chose a pretty picture.

While the cold weather and dreary mood didn’t help, because that meant I was fighting a cold most of the time, the main problem was that my computer is dying. And that leads to…

Podcasts

Articles

None published, but a bunch of work was done on a ZDNet feature that will appear very soon.

5at5

Only one edition of 5at5 was published this week, on Wednesday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None. It tends to dry up at the end of the financial year.

The Week Ahead

Well most of it’s gone, of course. But I’ve been doing all the end-of-financial-year administrivia, planning that crowdfunding campaign, mapping out July, and coming to terms with the many, many things that need to change this financial year.

On Friday I’ll be doing some work on a certain SEKRIT television project. Well, it’s not that SEKRIT, but I’ll make a formal announcement when the time is ripe. On Saturday I’ll be migrating to Sydney for a week or so. And on the weekend I’ll also be finalising the plan for that crowdfunding campaign, and recording an episode of The 9pm Edict. Busy!

[Photo: Another dreadful Sydney winter day, being the view of the Sydney skyline from Rydges Camperdown hotel on 30 June 2015.]

Photograph of MacBook Pro showing keyboard damage

The 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixelsMy computer is dying. It’s dying fast. It’s not going to make it much longer, and certainly not through to when I’ll be able to afford a replacement. I need your help.

Previously I’ve had success with my Pozible crowdfunding campaigns to resurrect The 9pm Edict podcast, and to get me to Breakpoint and Ruxcon. So in a few days from now I’ll be launching The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, a Pozible campaign based around a special podcast episode. The “rewards” for you contributions will help shape the content for that podcast.

Right now, I’m figuring out exactly how those rewards will work. After some discussion on Twitter last night, here’s what I’m thinking. Feedback please.

  • For $50 or whatever, a Two Minutes Hate. You choose the topic, and I’ll rant about it in the podcast for two minutes. The topic can be absolutely anything. Should snakes be equipped with legs? Why does Peter Dutton look like a cabbage? What are the best ways to remove bloodstains from a carpet?
  • For $100 or whatever, a Morning Glory. A wake-up call with a difference. I’ll phone you or your sleepy-headed friend at the appointed time — althogh I’m not sure how that can create podcast content, what with laws and stuff.
  • I had thought of offering to write and perform an erotic poem about a public figure of your choice. That’d cost. Pants-off extra.
  • @PointZeroOne suggested that one reward could allow you to nominate five question that I then put to a group of people in the pub. That one might be more expensive, because there’d be some work to do, and drinks to buy.

People have asked whether Rewards could be combined. An erotic poem as a wake-up call? Sure, why not?

The initial Pozible project goal will be whatever a new mid-high MacBook Pro plus AppleCare would be, plus a backup drive, plus costs. Stretch goals would be to up the specs of that machine, and then add cameras and microphones or whatever to improve my kit.

What I’d like from you right now are your ideas and comments on Pozible rewards and stretch goals.

Just comment below, or tweet at me, email me, or drive out and personally discuss them with me. No, actually, don’t do that last one. Comments close at 1400 AEST this Friday 26 June. I’ll then set up the Pozible project, which should go live early next week.

Oh, and if you were wondering what’s wrong the computer, specifically…

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ABC logoAs expected, last night the Australian parliament passed new laws enabling copyright-holders to take out Federal Court injunctions requiring internet service providers to block access to overseas websites that host infringing material.

Actually, as Andrew Colley wrote at CSO Online Australia, copyright-holders have to prove that the site’s “primary purpose” is to “facilitate” copyright infringement. His story outlines The Greens’ argument that the bar should be higher, requiring “flagrant” conduct.

Over at ZDNet, Josh Taylor wrote an excellent backgrounder, Village Roadshow’s long fury road to blocking piracy sites. Not a “furry road”, please note. That would be something slightly different.

This afternoon I spoke about some of these issues with afternoon presenter Lorna Perry at ABC 105.7 Darwin, and here’s that 11-minute convesation.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The View from Level 16My week of Monday 15 to Sunday 21 June 2015 was yet another reasonably productive one, though the cold weather meant that I spent more time than ever before in the warmth of the Blue Mountains City Library in Katoomba.

This week also saw a significant reduction in my stress levels, for a variety of reasons. I’ll write more about that later in the week.

Articles

Podcasts

  • The 9pm Planet of Fascist Delusions, being The 9pm Edict episode 45. I think that podcast production expands to fill the time available for it. This episode soaked up 17 hours, spread over two days.

5at5

There were five editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. That’s more than 25 things for you to read! To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

My week will begin with the Winter Solstice — sorry, I’m running late — the week began with the Winter Solstice, which happened at 0238 AEST on Monday morning. I celebrated the Solstice as I often do, by reflecting on many things overnight, so Monday is a bit slow. Household chores, administrivia, some research, and the like. In the evening I’ll plan my writing for ZDNet.

Tuesday to Thursday will be writing days, with a couple of stories for ZDNet, as well as that goddam ebook. Friday will be devoted to certain activities related to the end of the financial year. The weekend will see the production of another episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, interspersed with a modest social life. That episode will be completed and posted on Monday 29 June.

That seems a bit thin. But my ponderings over the Solstice will trigger further actions, trust me. There is much that I want to change in the coming months.

[Photo: The View from Level 16, being the UBS offices on level 16 of Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney, photographed on 19 June 2015.]

Screenshot of Tony Abbott from "A message from the Prime Minister", 20 June 2015The 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixelsDonald Trump demonstrates some modern thinking. Former Prime Minister Kevin Rudd submits to a Voight-Kampff test. And Senator Jacqui Lambie lays down the law on renewable energy.

In this podcast, there’s talk of windfarms, wind turbine syndrome, and a lack of science. Also, Tony Abbott, terrorism, George Brandis, poetry, and a little bit about fascism.

You can listen to the podcast below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe automatically in iTunes, or go to SoundCloud.

Play

If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

Read the rest of this entry »

ABC logoHundreds of millions of Samsung smartphones have a serious security vulnerability. The company has known about it since December, but hasn’t done anything about it. I spoke about this on ABC Radio’s The World Today on Thursday.

A software bug is making around 600 million Samsung mobile phones around the world vulnerable to attack. The bug in the phone’s keyboard software could allow hackers to read text messages and to view and take photos. It was found by a US computer security company which informed Samsung late last year.

If you want the technical details, read the Ars Technica story, New exploit turns Samsung Galaxy phones into remote bugging devices.

Here’s the three-and-a-half minute radio story. There’s also a transcript, and a written news story, Samsung phones vulnerable to cyber attacks because of software bug.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s being served here directly from the ABC website.

Since this report aired, Samsung has said that it will fix this vulnerability, but not all Samsung smartphone owners will receive the fix immediately.

Surveillance: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 8 to Sunday 14 June 2015 has been another productive one, despite Monday allegedly being a holiday. Thank you, Your Majesty. I’m exhausted.

I also think I’m coming down with a cold, which is hardly surprising. We’ll see.

There’s much I want to talk about, but this very moment I’m at the regularly monthly Poetry in the Pub in Katoomba. I have Sunday Lunch here many weeks. But this month it’s essentially a wake, because one of their number has passed. I’ll admit that I shed a tear as one chap read Henry Lawson’s “The Glass on the Bar”. My whinges can wait for another time.

Articles

There’s also two more ZDNet pieces in the pipeline. They’ll appear in the first half of the coming week, I imagine.

Podcasts

None. The next episode of The 9pm Edict is now scheduled for Wednesday 17 Saturday 20 June.

5at5

There were five editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. That’s more than 25 things for you to read! To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

On Monday and Tuesday, I’ll be finishing off those two ZDNet stories. In theory, I’m also heading in to Sydney on Tuesday for the Optus Business Lunch, to hear the company’s chief executive officer Allen Lew deliver a keynote speech on “how customer behaviours are driving digital transformation” — but with deadlines, that may have to be cancelled. That Sydney trip will definitely be cancelled.

On Wednesday, I’ll be completing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast. On Thursday, I’ll be writing a column for ZDNet. Wednesday and Thursday are writing days, completing those two ZDNet items, plus a piece for Crikey, plus starting on an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

On Friday, I’m definitely doing the long commute to Sydney, to go to a lunchtime briefing by the Wynyard Group on corporate and cyber criminals.

On Saturday I’ll be completing the podcast, and perhaps helping with some, um, engineering work at Bunjaree Cottages. While the rest of the weekend has not yet been planned, the Solstice is on Sunday night — well, for me it’s at 0238 AEST on Monday morning — so I’ll be marking the occasion in some way. How? I’m not sure yet. The same applies to the rest of the weekend, I suppose.

Update 15 June 2015: Edited to reflect the schedule change. Second update, 1620 AEST: Edited to add link to ABC Riverina recording. Update 17 June 2015: Edited to reflect further schedule changes.

[Photo: Surveillance, photographed at Wentworth Falls railway station on 13 June 2015.]

ABC logo“Days numbered for illegal downloaders as crackdown is given tick of approval,” read the headline at News.com.au on Friday. Do you think they might be connected with any film and TV businesses?

“Labor falls in to support piracy site-blocking Bill,” read the more neutral headline at ZDNet.

Yes, the Australian Parliament is almost certain to pass laws enabling copyright-holders to take out Federal Court injunctions requiring internet service providers to block their customers from accessing overseas websites that they can prove are infringing.

I spoke about this and other media-related matters on ABC Riverina and other ABC local stations around NSW with Simon Wallace — and here’s the recording. There’s a glitch, in that my phone wasn’t patched through correctly, but that’s fixed about a minute or so in.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Note: Although this is being posted on 15 June, I’ve timestamped the post 12 June, so that appears in the correct sequence on the website.]

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