Human Nature

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Read the rest of this entry »

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.

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

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