Human Nature

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Screenshot of Stilgherrian from Download This Show: click for podcast websiteABC logoWould you believe it’s been more than a year since the last time Marc Fennell invited me onto Download This Show? Well, it is.

Ironically, it seems like this week’s episode was designed specifically to troll me. We discussed TV (which I don’t watch) in the context of the new Apple TV, cars (which I don’t drive) in the context of hacking them, and weddings (which I’m not interested in). Still, Janet Carr and I had fun.

Here’s how the ABC website describes the episode:

Has Apple really reinvented the ole TV box? Also is your digital DAB radio the key to hackers accessing your car? More inside…

There’s a video of the Apple TV segment over the fold. If it doesn’t work for you here, watch it on YouTube.

Read the rest of this entry »

ABC logoApparently South Australia had an #optuswrongtime incident today, when some customers’ devices showed the wrong time, causing chaos for them.

The same sort of thing happened in Queensland in January — that’s when the hashtag was invented — and just like then, the official explanation was less than forthcoming.

An overnight maintenance upgrade of our 4G Plus mobile network caused some Optus customers’ devices in South Australia and the Northern Territory to switch to a different time zone earlier this morning. The Optus 3G network was unaffected.

Optus technicians resolved the issue with a fix that set clocks to the correct time zone.

Customers were also able to resolve the issue in a number of ways, including:

  • Turning flight mode on and off
  • Turning automatic clock settings off and on
  • Turning their device off and on.

We apologise to our customers for any inconvenience.

I spoke about the incident this afternoon on ABC 891 Adelaide with Sonya Feldhoff.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logo“How relevant is handwriting in 2015, when people are increasingly communicating via text messages, via email, via tweets, Facebook updates, those sort things?”, asked ABC 891 Adelaide presenter Michael Smyth on Monday afternoon.

There are schools in Finland and the US reportedly phasing out the teaching of handwriting.

Here’s what I think is an interesting 12-minute discussion that includes a vox pop of people in Adelaide, talkback calls, and Pam Kent, president of the South Australian Primary Principals Association, as well as myself.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Bonus link: By a happy coincidence, this week’s episode of ABC Radio’s Future Tense asks Does handwriting have a future?

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, run by Australian security researcher Troy Hunt. Use it.


The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoThe information security news story of the week was, of course, the data breach at “affairs” and “cheaters” website Ashley Madison, something first reported by journalist Brian Krebs.

I spoke about this data breach in a couple of radio spots — I’m reluctant to call it a
“hack” until we have some evidence that a hack was involved, as opposed to some internal problem — but I reckon the first was the best.

Here’s that conversation, a 13-minute chat from Tuesday morning with ABC 936 Hobart morning presenter Leon Compton. Enjoy.


The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoIt would be unfair to say that Randi Zuckerberg is only important because her brother is Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. She already had her own media career. Nevertheless…

Ms Zuckerberg spoke at the Asia Pacific Cities Summit in Brisbane on Wednesday, and if The Australian‘s report on Thursday is an accurate rendition, it must’ve been a disjointed jumble of ideas.

Chief amongst them was the idea of a “digital detox”, something which I’ve spoken about before. That topic caught the eye of the team at ABC 891 Adelaide, and I ended up speaking about it with Peter Goers. He normally presents the evening program, but this week he was filling in on mornings.


The audio is of course ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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.


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.

ABC logoIt’s not every day that I end up talking about my experiences in Thai urinals on live radio, but that’s exactly what I did today. It’s all down to Vicki Kerrigan.

Kerrigan is the drive-time presenter on ABC 105.7 Darwin, and a story about Airpnp caught her eye — or that of her producer. No, not the accommodation-related app Airbnb. And no, inner urban gay men, it’s not what you just thought of either.

Airpnp is a service that supposedly lets you “find a clean, comfortable bathroom no matter where you are” — not so much here in Australia, but certainly in the US and some other places as it’s spread out from New Orleans, where it was founded a year ago.

Here’s the full 10-minute conversation we had — including Kerrigan’s introduction, which may leave you with a slight pressure somewhere.


This audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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.

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