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Australian Arms Hotel, Penrith: click to embiggen

The 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixelsWould you like to witness the recording of a very special episode of The 9pm Edict podcast? Yes? Then organise yourself to be at the Public House Forum on Saturday 12 September.

As part of my recent Pozible crowdfunding campaign, The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, I’m recording a forum in a public house — yes, a pub — where a panel of punters will discuss the questions posed by the MEDIA FREEDOM ENLIGHTENED ONES.

The venue is the Australian Arms Hotel, 351 High Street, Penrith NSW 2750. The podcast recording starts at 2pm — but I strongly recommend that you arrive well before that, so you can order lunch and a few beverages and get into the mood.

Space is strictly limited, so you’ll need to book a (free) ticket through Eventbrite. Do it. Do it now. Actually don’t do it now. Tickets go on sale this Saturday 29 August at 1200 midday AEST.

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[Photo: The Australian Arms Hotel, Penrith, photographed on 22 August 2015.]

The wokking of the kangaroo: click to embiggenMost of my week of Monday 17 to Sunday 23 August 2015 was wiped out by a cold, as I mentioned last time. But apart from that, I’m pleased with proceedings.

I didn’t get much new done, but some of my recent ZDNet columns seem to have gotten plenty of attention. I squirted out a new podcast, and locked in plenty of stuff for the future.

Articles

Following on from last week’s Android, you have serious security problems, we have…

Podcasts

Media Appearances

5at5

There were four editions of 5at5, on Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday, I met with Dick Bussiere from Tenable Network Security — the chap who was quoted in this week’s ZDNet column — and their PR people paid for the coffee.

The Week Ahead

The week begins with the 0636 train to Sydney, because this is the first of two weeks I’m spending in Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west, catsitting. On Monday and Tuesday, I’m covering the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney. I daresay that I’ll spend a big chunk of Wednesday writing about things from that event. Thursday too, maybe.

Mid-week I’ll also be announcing the full details of The 9pm Edict Public House Forum. I’ve already said elsewhere that it’ll be recorded on Saturday 12 September at the Australian Arms Hotel in Penrith, but still to come is information on how you can be part of the live audience.

In the latter part of the week, I’ll finally be able to buy all the hardware that you good people have paid for in The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. The new MacBook Pro has already been ordered, and should arrive late in the week. I’ll shop around for the rest as I get the time.

The weekend sees a Full Moon, so I shall take the necessary precautions. I’ll probably also knock off a quick episode of The 9pm Edict.

Further Ahead

During the following week, starting Monday 31 August, I’ll design and test my new podcast recording set-up. I’ll post a description once that’s done. I’ll be at the ACCAN National Conference on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 September, and indeed taking part in a panel discussion on the Wednesday afternoon. The weekend of 5 and 6 September will see another special episode of The 9pm Edict.

Further ahead still, on Friday 11 September, I’ll be presenting my regular guest lecture at UTS. And then on Saturday 12 September, it’s The 9pm Edict Public House Forum, with post-production to be done on the Sunday.

[Photo: The kangaroo is wokked, being a photograph of my breakfast in progress, taken on 23 August 2015.]

Sunny Burns talking with Thai PoliceThe 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixelsAustralia’s Attorney-General invents a whole new category of legal practice. A man who did not bomb Bangkok explains who to blame for everything that went wrong. And don’t worry, we’ve been officially reassured by NASA.

In this podcast, there’s talk of crime, terrorism, heroism, bestiality, emoji, necrophilia, and more.

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.

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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.

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ABC logoThe Ashley Madison hack returned to the news this week, because the 30-day deadline given by Impact Team, the hacker(s) who claimed responsibility, expired, and the site’s data started being dumped onto the internet.

While I’d spoken about this before on ABC 936 Hobart, this week I spoke about the then-latest developments on Friday with ABC Gold Coast. Here’s the full conversation with morning presenter Nicole Dyer.

The site I mentioned at the end, where you can check whether your email address appears in the Ashley Madison data dump, or in many of the larger data breaches of recent years, is haveibeenpwned.com, run by Australian security researcher Troy Hunt. Use it.

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The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Barangaroo from Pyrmont: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 10 to Sunday 16 August 2015 was just as remarkable as the previous week, in that I got plenty of interesting things done.

Given that this Weekly Wrap is so dreadfully late, however, I won’t go into any details.

Articles

Podcasts

None. But there’ll be a new episode of The 9pm Edict on Sunday 23 August. See Update 11 of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh for details of the plan from there on.

Media Appearances

5at5

There were three editions of 5at5, on Monday, Thursday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

Most of it’s gone already, thanks to a nasty cold. Many people in and around Sydney seem to have been hit by this one. However, there’s a good two and a half days left, so…

On Friday (today), I’ll be re-planning everything post-cold, and writing a column for ZDNet.

On Saturday, I’ll be heading to Penrith to sort out a recording location for The 9pm Edict Public House Forum, as well as running a few errands. En route, I’ll be working on the script for the first of the three special podcast episodes for The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. And on Sunday, I’ll be recording and posting that episode.

Further Ahead

The week beginning Monday 24 August will be the first of two weeks I’ll be spending in Ashfield in Sydney’s inner west, catsitting. I’m looking forward to it, though visiting Ashfield is always a bittersweet experience for me, for reasons that some of you may be aware of.

On Monday and Tuesday, I’m covering the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney. In the past, I’ve gotten good value out of this event. I daresay that I’ll spend a big chunk of Wednesday writing about things from that event. Thursday too, maybe.

In the latter part of the week, I’ll finally be able to buy all the hardware that you good people have paid for in The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. In between some meetings in the city, I’ll be designing and testing my new recording set-up, and posting a description once I’ve gotten it all working to my satisfaction. The weekend sees a Full Moon, so I shall take the necessary precautions.

Looking even further ahead, I’ll be at the ACCAN National Conference on Tuesday 1 and Wednesday 2 September, and indeed taking part in a panel discussion on the Wednesday afternoon. The weekend of 5 and 6 September will see another special episode of The 9pm Edict.

And further ahead still, on Friday 9 September, I’ll be presenting my regular guest lecture at UTS. And then on Saturday 10 September, I should be recording The 9pm Edict Public House Forum — though I’ll officially confirm that date tomorrow afternoon.

[Photo: Barangaroo from Pyrmont, photographed on 11 August 2015 as I was waiting for a coffee companion. The Barangaroo development is certainly dominating the western side of the Sydney CBD now.]

Screenshot of Stilgherrian on Lateline: click for video and transcriptIt was my very great pleasure to talk about hacking and the impending security disaster that is the Internet of Things (IoT) on ABC TV’s Lateline last night — and don’t I look concerned.

Also joining the program was security researcher Runa Sandvik, who got plenty of media recently for hacking a smart sniper rifle.

I won’t go into too many details here, because you can see the video and transcript at the Lateline website. For the next month or so, you can also watch it in HD on iView.

However, this exchange surprised me:

STILGHERRIAN: … Scarier though is what’s happening with smart TVs. There are millions of those around the world. They’re networked, so you can watch clips from YouTube or whatever on them or Netflix or any of the streaming services, and yet I’ve seen a young hacker from South Korea not only hack a smart TV, hack it in 10 different ways and set it up so that the camera and microphone in the TV are streaming live video and sound out to the internet while the television looks like it’s turned off. These are televisions that are being installed over the last few years and more in the future in hotel bedrooms, classrooms, corporate boardrooms. So they’re kind of like an always-on surveillance device.

JOHN BARRON: I guess, Runa, the question then occurs: well, who would want to do this? Who would want to hack into somebody’s TV set in suburban Australia or the United States? The answer would probably be: well, nobody. But why would somebody want to do this?

RUNA SANDVIK: There’s a mix. There’s definitely people that are doing this for sort of evil purposes, if you will, or to make money, and there are people that do it just because they can, because it’s there, it’s a possibility, it’s not as secure as it should be and they do it just to show that they can.

Personally, I’d have thought that the security risks of peering into people’s homes would have been obvious, but the questions moved on before I could point out the attraction to both pilferers and perverts.

Anyway, you can also read my thoughts on this in my December 2014 column, All aboard the internet of things infosec hype train, and its January 2014 predecessor, Our hackers, who art in open source, deliver us from refrigerators.

Newtown, with mesh fence: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 August 2015 was remarkable, because I had so many votes of confidence, as it were. I’m pretty chuffed.

The most remarkable of all was that I raised more than $7200 in a crowdfunding campaign to replace and upgrade my core work tools. I won’t go into the details here, because you can check the project updates. But as I explained last week, having a working computer has really helped my mood. Knowing that I’ll soon have the kit to do certain kinds of projects is even more mood-improving.

Also, at the ADMA Global Forum, I met Professor Stephen Pulman, head of computational linguistics at some university called… Oxbloor or Oxfart or something like that. When I showed interest in his session on the sentiment analysis of textual data, including tweets, I was invited to his masterclass the next day. I’m kinda chuffed that I could dive deep into this stuff after so many years.

There’s a few other things too, but that can wait. On with the show…

Articles

Podcasts

None. But it’s looking like there’ll be three episodes of The 9pm Edict over the next five weeks. I’m also thinking of resurrecting Corrupted Nerds.

Media Appearances

  • On Monday morning, I spoke about the Wentworth Falls bushfire on ABC 702 Sydney.
  • On Tuesday evening, I spoke about various technology issues on ABC Local Radio across NSW, but there’s no recording. That’s a shame. It was a good segment.

5at5

There were editions of 5at5 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday and Wednesday, I covered the ADMA Global Forum, so there was plenty of food and drink to be had at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel.
  • On Wednesday evening, I went to Text100’s (in)famous Xmas in August event at the Bavarian Bier Cafe in Sydney. Bang & Olufsen gave me a rather nice leather keyring, and a USB stick containing their promotional material. Amazon Kindle gave me a promo-filled USB stick too.
  • On Thursday, NetSuite has a lunchtime briefing at Gowings Bar & Grill at Sydney’s QT Hotel. As usual, the food and drink was stunning.

The Week Ahead

Monday will be a long, long day. I’m taking the 0706 train to Sydney. At 0900 I’m meeting someone over coffee. From 1000, I’ll be at Deloitte’s media briefing on their annual Media Consumer Survey. Then it’s a haircut, and lunch, and buying a new shirt. The afternoon is flexible, shall we say, because at 2030 I’ll be live on ABC TV’s Lateline to talk about certain cybers. I think I’ll try to have a nap in there somewhere.

Tuesday is an easier day, and I plan to sleep in. I’m finally getting an eye exam done, and then I’ve got a couple meetings before catching the train back to Wentworth Falls.

On Wednesday, I’ll be running errands and doing my shopping in Katoomba, as well as working on a few stories. On Thursday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet. And on Friday, it’s the next step of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. I’ll have the final budget and podcast content selections, so it’ll be time to lock in the shopping list, and send RFQs to my suppliers.

I think I’ll record an episode of The 9pm Edict on the weekend, but we’ll see how that goes. Next weekend is so far away…

[Photo: Newtown, with mesh fence, photographed on 4 August 2015 as my train down from the Blue Mountains sped through Newtown on its wat to Central station for its scheduled 0847 arrival.]

Firefighters tackle the Wentworth Falls bushfire, 2 August 2015

ABC logoAs Monday morning kicked off, the Wentworth Falls bushfire that I mentioned in yesterday’s Weekly Wrap was of course a major news story.

ABC 702 Sydney breakfast presenter Robbie Buck asked for locals to talk about their experiences, so I gave him a call. Here’s the three-minute conversation that resulted.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Photo: Firefighters tackle the Wentworth Falls bushfire, 2 August 2015, via the NSW Rural Fire Service.]

The Final Redoubt: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 27 July to Sunday 2 August 2015 represented a remarkable turnaround — perhaps the turnaround that I’d been detecting in the winds since June. And then there’s the bushfire. It’s all so complicated!

Why? It was a full week with a properly-working computer — a week spent in a house with a properly-working kitchen, heating, and inspiring view — and that brought back some of the clarity of thought which I’ve been sorely lacking. I got plenty done, the most important in many ways being the launch — finally! — of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh.

I was very pleased when people started contributing to this crowdfunding campaign just as soon as it was launched. I’m even more pleased to report that as I write this, roughly half-way through the campaign period, we’ve reached 54% of the initial target. That means we’re likely to succeed.

The stress of not having a working computer is subsiding, but I’m not counting my chickens before they’re hatched.

People who write or perform for a living will also understand the importance of the kind of reassurance that comes with people supporting the plan which, until then, had existed solely in your own head.

That has helped. Thank you. If you haven’t done so already, please check out The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh

Thanks also to the many people who asked whether I was in any danger from this weekend’s bushfire at Wentworth Falls. No, I’m not.

The fire is only 3km from Bunjaree Cottages, but between it and me there’s some significantly challenging terrain, and the wind has been taking the fire in a different direction. More than 100 volunteers from the NSW Rural Fire Service have been keeping us safe.

I’m certainly paying attention to what’s happening, though, and I see that there’s a wind change forecast for Monday. Depending on how the RFS people go with their plans for the rest of today and overnight, well, my risk assessment may change.

Just as I write this, the alert for the fire area has been raised from WATCH AND ACT to EMERGENCY WARNING — the latter being described thusly:

You may be in danger and need to take action immediately. Any delay now puts your life at risk.

I must stress again, though, that I am not in the alert area, and I currently face no risk.

Articles

Podcasts

  • On Friday, I posted “The 9pm I Can’t Believe It’s Not a Planet”, being The 9pm Edict episode 46. I turned out better than its convoluted production process led me to imagine. I may tell you about that during the week.

Media Appearances

5at5

The hiatus has ended. There were two editions, on Thursday and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

None. But there’s quite a bit scheduled for the coming week.

The Week Ahead

This is going to be a better-structured one, folks.

Monday will be a media production day — but I’ll decide the exact details on the day, depending on the bushfire threat level.

On Tuesday, I’ll be catching the 0706 train to Sydney, because on Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be covering the ADMA Global Forum, presented by the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising. Also, at 2030 AEST on Tuesday night, I’ll be a guest on ABC Local Radio around NSW. And on Wednesday night, I’ll be going to Text100’s (in)famous Christmas in August event, a preview of their clients’ consumer technology for Christmas.

On Thursday, I’ll be going to a lunchtime briefing by NetSuite, and writing something for ZDNet, before taking the train back to the Blue Mountains. Thursday is also the last day of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, with the campaign ending at 2100 AEST that evening.

On Friday, I’ll be confirming what’ll happen with the funds so raised.

[Photo: The Final Redoubt, photographed on 2 August 2015. Should I ever need a final hiding place from a severe bushfire — and everything has happened so quickly that we skipped straight past three levels of warning, the fire jumped the road and railway, and all escape routes were blocked — then this cutting on Railway Parade near Wentworth Falls is where I’d wrap myself in wet woollen items and hope for the best.]

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