Human Nature

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ABC logoNo sooner had I spoken about #optuswrongtime on ABC Radio’s AM than I got a call from ABC Gold Coast to expand upon my comments.

So a little after 0830 AEDT on Wednesday morning, or 0730 AEST in Queensland, I spoke with Trevor Jackson and presented my two theories for what might have happened. One was that some new cell towers were switched on overnight in the 700MHz band, which Optus had recently been given permission to do, and they were set to the wrong time zone. The other was that a security update for the network time protocol (NTP) server had been pushed out, and somehow that was configured incorrectly.

We still don’t know the correct answer.

Also, under the influence of a certain Canadian, I managed to sneak in a mention of the secret code word.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoOn Wednesday morning, smartphone users on the Optus network in Queensland were running an hour early. Why? The ABC’s Will Ockenden decided to find out for the national current affairs program AM, and apparently that involved taking to me.

Presenter Ashley Hall introduced the story like this:

Queenslanders have long resisted embracing daylight saving time, leading to split time zones down Australia’s east coast for large chunks of the year.

But this morning many from the Sunshine State were given a taste of what it would be like after the Optus mobile phone network automatically updated phones to Sydney time.

Here’s the story as broadcast.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. The audio is being served directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

Update 1300 AEDT: I just noticed that my comments were quoted by Yahoo!7 News and the Sunshine Coast Daily, and even translated into Chinese for Radio Australia and translated into Dutch for Metronieuws. It all connects up.

ABC logoThe Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas featured in the final “Tech Wreck” segment on ABC 720 Perth, as well as some technology that may well fall out of use in 2015.

CES is a huge thing, with 160,000 attendees and 20,000 product launches, and as we went to air on Tuesday it hadn’t even really kicked off. Monday (US time) was the press preview day, so I was basing my comments on what had been reported so far, mostly from the coverage at CNet. I spoke mostly about 4k television, smart homes, and pointless gadgets.

We also spoke about the decline of six technologies that an article in The Independent had suggested would be on the way out: home landlines, TV remote controls, stand-alone satellite navigation, phone boxes, DVD and Blu-Ray, and the alarm clock.

The presenter is Jamie Burnett.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Since we’re approaching the end of 2014, here’s my usual list of the most-read posts on this website.

This represents only the material published right here, not things I write for money elsewhere and which have a far higher readership. It doesn’t include traffic to the home page, the about page, or anything else on the site that isn’t an actual blog post.

  1. Updated: Christopher Pyne clearly says the C-word? Nope. Did Christopher Pyne drop the c-bomb in Parliament or not? I first thought yes, then changed my mind. But I’m wondering now whether I want to change it back.
  2. May Reza Berati be the last, Mr Abbott. I was in a mood that night, but I think the writing stands up.
  3. Operation Sovereign Borders, sinister and banal. My reaction to Mick Kinley, acting chief executive officer of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) shrugging off concerns that Australia removes safety equipment from the lifeboats we put asylum seekers on before telling them to go home.
  4. Adventures in Identity: Still struggling with Google+, from January.
  5. Guilty of being a teenager in a public place, in which I kick off about the actions of the police in Mosman.
  6. Algorithms and the Filter Bubble, Take 3, being the recording of my guest lecture at UTS in April. This reminds me that I haven’t posted the updated version from the second half of the year. Oops.
  7. Tone-Deaf Abbott no statesman, never will be, my comment on the Prime Minister’s message on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
  8. Announcing 5at5, my new daily email letter, which explains itself.
  9. The 9pm Shire, one of my favourite episodes of The 9pm Edict podcast.
  10. A loving profile of Tony Abbott, which simply embeds the video of American TV host John Oliver’s roasting of Abbott.

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2UE logo“The development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race,” said Stephen Hawking the other day.

“It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever-increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and would be superseded.”

Look, I have many feels about this sort of statement, which will have to wait for another time. But I managed to express one of those feels to Justin Smith on Sydney’s radio 2UE on Thursday afternoon. And here it is.

This audio is ©2014 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.

The Saturday Paper mastheadI’ve appeared in The Saturday Paper for the first time today, in a story by journalist Martin McKenzie-Murray with the headline Web of abuse grows as online bullies spread malice. In my very first quoted sentence in this august journal, I drop the c-word.

It’s a talent.

McKenzie-Murray’s story is great. It explores the same issue as we discussed on ABC TV’s Lateline the other night, namely the hideous violent and sexually-explicit abuse women face online, and the rather disappointing response from the police. Once more, it’s based around the experiences of Caitlin Roper.

McKenzie-Murray goes further, though, and speaks to Roper’s key abuser.

“I disagreed with some of her [Roper’s] statements [about Ched Evans]. I used the word ‘rape’ only for effect however she took it personally. I’ve said many times before that logic would explain the fact that nobody intended on raping her and nobody wishes rape upon her. I did get carried away and did use some obscene language… however, they took a joke out of context and began a witch-hunt of sorts by posting my picture and personal information.”

“Logic,” eh? “Joke.”

It’s worth reading the article in full. Despite my presence in it.

Screenshot of Stilgherrian on Lateline: click for video and transcriptLast week Collective Shout activist and campaigns manager Caitlin Roper told her story of the horrific misogynist abuse she’d received online, and what can most politely be called a disappointing response from the police.

I reluctantly went to the police station, already knowing that threats against women online are not regarded as a priority. “Why don’t you just close down your account?” asked the officer taking my statement.

I explained how I used Twitter in the course of my work for a non-profit organisation. She pressed further — “but why do you need to use it?” — as if it was somehow unreasonable for me to believe I had as much right as anyone to access social media without threats

Another colleague went to the police after one man described how he intended to mutilate her body and dissolve it in acid. The police officer suggested that the internet was “not a very nice place”, and maybe she should stay off it.

Last night, ABC TV’s Lateline did a follow-up story, the reported being John Stewart, and I provided a few comments.

It’s interesting that the one piece they used was about the internet putting everyone right next to everyone else:

It’s simply that within the past people were in communities, that were mostly made up of people like them or people they grew up with. If there was a violent part of town or a red-light district or whatever it might be, and you didn’t want to go there or you didn’t want to know about it, well you just didn’t go there. The problem is now on the internet all of that is right next to you as well and people are shocked by this. They’re suddenly discovering that there are people not like them. They have different attitudes to women, different attitudes to acceptable language, to religion, to class, to sporting teams, to clothing as we’ve seen in the media lately. Everything.

I also said that thanks to the internet, we are now building a global society, and yet policing is organised on a regional or even local basis.

While these women, and so many others, have experienced appalling abuse, in most cases there’s no credible threat. Even if the police cranked up the mechanisms of transnational police cooperation, there’d be little chance of a prosecution leading to a conviction. Their lack of follow-up reflects that unfortunate reality, as well as many police officers’ unfamiliarity with online life.

I daresay I’ll have further thoughts in this, because this story certainly isn’t going away.

Yes, I know they spelt my name wrong. Yes, I know they said “social media commentator”.

Stilgherrian on Download This Show

ABC logoI’d originally intended to avoid the clusterfuck in a teacup that is the Gamergate controversy, but I was persuaded to talk about it on this week’s Download This Show on ABC Radio National, along with seemingly now regular parter in crime and CNet news editor Claire Reilly.

GamerGate: death threats, sexism, misinformation and one of the biggest storms of opinion on the internet in a very long time. Plus we’re about to become flooded with Smartwatch devices but why do they mostly need to tethered to a mobile phone? Why can’t you just replace a phone with a watch? And it’s an international agreement being negotiated in secret which could have a huge impact on our digital life. We unpick the recent leaks from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement negotiations.

One of the better summaries of Gamergate is Kyle Wagner’s The Future Of The Culture Wars Is Here, And It’s Gamergate, although I’m rather fond of the polemic Why #Gamergaters Piss Me The F*** Off by long-time gamer and former NFL player Chris Kluwe.

As the blurb says, we also spoke about a new smart device called the Rufus Cuff, and developments in the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) negotiations.

The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s served here directly from the ABC website.

As usual, one of the segments was also made into a video — the one on TPP — and that’s over the fold, immediately below.

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ABC logoThis new social network Ello has been getting so much attention it’s… annoying. I was originally going to ignore it, but I got roped into this spot for ABC Gold Coast, and then Download This Show, so I decided to write about it for ZDNet Australia — that piece will appear on Tuesday.

But… This recording is the ABC radio spot, which aired on Tuesday morning with presenter Rebecca McLaren. I think I was in a bit of a cynical mood.

The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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