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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.

Play

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.

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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.

Play

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.]

ABC logoDo you think you need a “digital detox”? You know, something to break your “addiction” to digital devices? That’s what I just spoke about on ABC 891 Adelaide.

Drive presenter Michael Smyth and his team had heard about the Digital Detox and Camp Grounded holiday camps in the US, based on the summer camp concept…

Trade in your computer, cell phone, email, Instagrams, clocks, schedules, work-jargon, networking events and conferences for an off-the-grid weekend of pure unadulterated fun in the redwoods.

… so I was invited to give my opinion. Before I spoke, though, they played CNet’s report of a visit to Camp Grounded, as well as a vox pop of people recorded earlier today in Adelaide’s Rundle Mall.

Here’s the full 11-minute extravaganza.

Play

The book I mentioned was Robin Dunbar’s Grooming, Gossip and the Evolution of Language. And something I meant to refer to, but didn’t manage to fit in, was We don’t need digital detox, but there is a need to rethink our relationship with technology by Natasha Mauthner, Personal Chair at the University of Aberdeen.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Sunset on the Gold Coast: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 1 to Sunday 7 June 2015 has been both productive and exhausting, covering two conferences in two states.

It’s a long time since I’ve written five articles in week. It’s at least six months since I’ve done four, which is as far back as I could be bothered scrolling let alone five. But of course, there’s podcasts and other projects that have generated revenue, including random geekery and technical consultancy, so “number of articles” isn’t a fair measure.

Still, this has been one of my most productive weeks in a while. Excellent.

Articles

Podcasts

None. The next episode of The 9pm Edict is scheduled for Monday 15 June, or the day after.

5at5

There were two editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, and Sunday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

  • On Monday, I spoke about Chinese ATMs with face recognition on ABC 891 Adelaide.
  • On Friday, I took part in the AusCERT Speed Debate. The Livestream recording has bad audio, so I’ll link to the YouTube version when it becomes available.
  • Also on Friday, I was interviewed by the University of Melbourne student newspaper Farrago. I’ll link to that story when it goes live.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday, I went to the Check Point Cyber Security Symposium in Sydney, or at least part of it. The goodie bag included a signed copy of Brian Krebs’ book Spam Nation, a Check Point branded notebook, a chocolate from A10 Networks, and of course copies of Check Point’s promotional material. Food and drink were supplied.
  • From Tuesday night through to Friday, I was at the AusCERT Information Security Conference as AusCERT’s guest. They provided return flights from Sydney to the Gold Coast, airport transfers, three nights accommodation at RACV Royal Pines Resort, and of course all the conference food and drink — and there was plenty of that. For taking part in the Speed Debate, I was given a bottle of Jim Barry The Lodge Hill Shiraz 2012 from the Clare Valley. And everybody got a copy of Bruce Schneier’s book Data and Goliath, an AusCERT-branded shirt, and a rather well-made courier bag. From CyberArk: A macaron, delivered creepy-like into my hotel room while I wasn’t there. From Firemon: A branded glass-cleaning cloth. From Mimecast: a keyring bottle opener. From NCC Group: a golden bath duck. From the US Naval Criminal Investigative Service: an NCIS cap — yes, from the real NCIS, not the TV show.

The Week Ahead

Monday is a public holiday for the Queen’s Birthday, but nevertheless I’ll be working. I’ll be writing a feature for ZDNet, as well as returning to Wentworth Falls after a week away.

From Tuesday to Thursday, I’ll be working on another feature for ZDNet, as well as my “regular” column, as well as the running so late it’s embarrassing ebook. I see there’s an Apple keynote at 0300 AEST on Tuesday, so that may feed into something. [It didn’t.] And I’ve got an interview to do on Thursday afternoon.

On Friday, I’ll be heading down to Sydney for a media briefing by Cisco. Friday is another writing day.

I’m not sure how the weekend will go, but I see that there’s Poetry in the Pub in Katoomba on Sunday afternoon. I happened to be there last month, and I thought it might be interesting for The 9pm Edict podcast. We’ll see.

Update 11 June 2015: Edited to reflect the abandoning of the Friday trip to Sydney.

[Photo: Sunset on the Gold Coast, Photographed from the 16th floor of the RACV Royal Pines Resort on 3 June 2015.]

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