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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.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

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.

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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.

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.

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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.

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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 logoEngineers at Beijing’s Tsinghua University and Hangzhou-based security company Tzekwan Technology have unveiled an ATM with face-recognition — and I discussed the implications on ABC 891 Adelaide on Monday.

I spoke with drive presenter Michael Smyth about why China might want to do this, including making more of their technology domestically, and linking ATM authentication with their growing national database of facial biometrics for… other purposes.

Here’s the full seven-minute conversation, which was broadcast live.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

2UE logoIs it possible to hack into a commercial airliner’s flight control systems by first hacking into its inflight entertainment system?

That’s the worry, certainly. But now the FBI has said that security researcher Chris Roberts told them he’d done exactly that hack 15 or 20 times, and on one occasion even managed to compromise the Thrust Management Computer, getting it to issue a “climb” command to one engine — with the result that the burst of increased thrust caused “lateral movement” of the aircraft.

Except Wired reports that Roberts told them that he claimed no such thing. He’d had many hours of conversations with the FBI, and in condensing that down to a few sentences they’ve got the wrong end of the stick.

This whole story caught the attention of 2UE morning presenter Stuart Hocking, we spoke about it for about seven minutes earlier today, and here’s the recording.

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This audio is ©2015 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.

I knew the first three months of 2015 had been bad for business — or at least my little patch of business — but I hadn’t realised it was this bad. Turns out it was my second-worst quarter in more than four years! Drastic action and ruthless decisions are required.

Yes, this is another of my occasional thinking-aloud reflections on my personal circumstances. If you don’t like this sort of thing, then stop reading now. Read this instead.

Still with me? Lovely.

Yesterday I updated my “media objects” chart, which counts how many things I’ve created for each media outlet, regardless of relative complexity or what income was generated. It serves as a handy proxy for revenue — because certain revenue figures are confidential.

Media objects produced monthly, 2011-2015: click to embiggen

It’s a depressing image. At best, Q1 of 2015 was no worse than Q1 of the previous year, but overall it’s still a picture of decline. Literally depressing, in fact, because I’ve left in a couple of health-related markers that I was using to analyse something else.

Back at the end of 2012, I’d tried to inject a little more strategy into the way I ran the business side of making media. This and other charts were some of the tools I created, last updated in February 2014. It’s fair to say that I haven’t really developed any kind of strategy out of the information in those charts, and this new chart illustrates the results from doing that nothing. Go me.

This chart doesn’t reflect certain positives, however. There’s now crowdsourced funding for The 9pm Edict podcast. I also do some minor work for the University of Technology Sydney, and I consult on some other media projects too. There’s also fragmentary revenue from the legacy clients of my IT business.

But I do need to raise my income levels back to something more like they were a few years ago. The next step is to do something about it. And that has been the nature of my ponderings across this Easter long weekend.

The Wire logoOn Monday I recorded an interview on Bitcoin’s secret sauce, the blockchain, with The Wire, the current affairs program for Australia’s community radio network produced by 2SER in Sydney. It went to air that night as past their story Blockchains to the rescue?

It was only a couple of years ago that Bitcoin was taking the world by storm — the price rocketing by hundreds of percent. Since then, however, it has fallen into obscurity, with less and less companies accepting it as payment. But even if Bitcoin does not make it as a full fledged currency, the technology behind it may find a place elsewhere.

Journalist Josh Nicholas also spoke with Professor David Glance, Director of University of Western Australia’s Centre for Software Practice. The narrative contrasts my enthusiasm, for want of a better work, with Glance’s scepticism. That’s probably down to the questions asked and the editing, because I suspect our views are actually much the same.

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The audio is ©2015 2SER-FM 107.3. It’s also available at The Wire program website — that’s exactly the same as what you can hear here, it’s just that the audio file here has my branding — and you can also listen to the entire episode.

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 logoSo SIM card manufacturer Gemalto has responded to the claims that America’s NSA and Britain’s GCHQ had hacked their network in 2010 and 2011 and stolen SIM card encryption keys. I spoke about that response on ABC Radio’s AM this morning.

You can read Gemalto’s full press statement, but The Wall Street Journal has a good summary, and The Intercept has various infosec experts disputing Gemalto’s analysis.

If nothing else, it seems unlikely that Gemalto could have conducted a thorough forensic investigation in just six days — although they may have just dig out a report they’d prepared earlier.

Here’s how AM introduced the story today:

Overnight the world’s largest SIM card manufacturer has responded to allegations it was hacked by American and British spies. Dutch company Gemalto confirmed it was the target of sophisticated hacks in 2010 and 2011, and most likely the US National Security Agency and their British counterparts were responsible. Last week, documents from Edward Snowden alleged spies stole encryption keys from Gemalto, giving them potential to monitor mobile communications. But Gemalto denies there was mass theft of encryption keys and says their products are secure.

And here’s the full report from journalist Sarah Sedghi.

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

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