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UTS logoThis morning I delivered version six of my now-regular guest lecture to media students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS), “Algorithms and the Filter Bubble”. Here are the references and further reading.

The links over the fold start off with some background material that sets out my worldview, and then things are in roughly the same order as presented in the lecture — with the order becoming less coherent further down the page. There’s more material linked here than I mentioned in the lecture itself. Enjoy.

A recording of the lecture will be made available in roughly one week on Wednesday 23 September on Friday 25 September, as the change in Prime Minister has triggered the demand for some of my commentary. This page may be updated with further links at that time.

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Firefighters tackle the Wentworth Falls bushfire, 2 August 2015

ABC logoAs Monday morning kicked off, the Wentworth Falls bushfire that I mentioned in yesterday’s Weekly Wrap was of course a major news story.

ABC 702 Sydney breakfast presenter Robbie Buck asked for locals to talk about their experiences, so I gave him a call. Here’s the three-minute conversation that resulted.


The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Photo: Firefighters tackle the Wentworth Falls bushfire, 2 August 2015, via the NSW Rural Fire Service.]

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.

Despite my early enthusiasm for Blogjune, saying I’d join various others in writing a blog post ever day this month, I’ve decided to give it a miss.

While I do want to be writing more of the essays I used to write, I’ve got plenty to be getting on with — including The 9pm Edict podcast, figuring out what to do with Corrupted Nerds, and of course generating more paying work.

Once I’d fallen a couple of days behind, the “commitment” to this arbitrary project was really only causing stress, without generating much in the way of benefits. So I’m quite happy to have dropped it.

The five Blogjune posts I did write are all tagged blogjune.

A complete archive of my tweets is now online at It’s browseable. It’s searchable. It’s updated every hour at one minute past the hour. And it’s made possible by Twitter Nest by Andy Graulund @graulund and, for importing the archive, @tralafiti. Enjoy.

08 June 2014 by Stilgherrian | No comments

Buddha Brian on a log: click to embiggenI’ve never been much of a joiner. I don’t play nice with other children. Well, more them with me, the vicious little bastards. But I’ve joined Constance Wiebrands’s Blogjune project this year anyway. I suspect it was a stupid decision.

“What the fuck did you sign up to that for,” screams my alleged professional side.

“You’ve got leads for paying work you could follow up. But no, you’re pissing away time on things like 5at5. You did an episode of Corrupted Nerds this week, which doesn’t have any income yet, when you’d already been paid to do another episode of The 9pm Edict in May and you only just managed to sneak that in before midnight last night. What’s wrong with you?”

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Stripe logoNow that I’ve run two successful crowdfunding campaigns through Pozible, I’m starting to set up systems to accept direct payments for my various projects. The first, a page to accept one-off donations was mostly straightforward.

I chose to use Stripe as the card payment service because I already had a Stripe account for my second Pozible project, The 9pm Resurrection.

While Stripe is still in beta in Australia, Pozible already uses it to handle recurring subscription payments, and I’d already received an invitation into the beta program. I figured it made sense to keep all my payments in one place.

Plus I’ll eventually be using Memberful to process subscriptions, and that also uses Stripe.

To integrate Stripe into this WordPress site, I used the free plugin WP Stripe from Human Made Limited. This provided me with one payment form per website, which is all I needed for this task. I also installed the WP Stripe Email Receipts plugin by Philip Newcomer.

All that went smoothly. I installed the plugins, activated them, entered my Stripe account keys and a template for the email receipts — and they just worked.

The only difficulties came with configuring Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) on the web server, and that was down to a bug I encountered in the WHM/cPanel hosting management software while I was installing the SSL certificate. That’s nothing to do with Stripe or WordPress or the plugins, of course, just my dodgy web server.

I’ll document that bug over the fold. Meanwhile, why not try out the system and give me a tip? Was that too blatant?

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Cover image for Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 10: click for podcast pageAfter a gap of some six months, I’ve finally produced another episode of the Corrupted Nerds podcast.

Earlier this month, during Australia’s Privacy Awareness Week, I had the very great pleasure of meeting McAfee’s chief privacy officer, Michelle Dennedy.

Not only did I end up writing a ZDNet Australia column a few days ago, Developers, ask your users about data privacy, I so thoroughly enjoyed the conversation that it inspired me to bring Corrupted Nerds back from recess.

In brief, privacy engineering is the process of turning various policies, from privacy laws to the needs of the business’ plan for data, into something that programmers can work with — indeed, something they’ll want to work with because it’s now an engineering problem.

I think you’ll agree that this conversation with Michelle Dennedy is rather fun.

Corrupted Nerds is available via iTunes and SoundCloud.

So you know how the other day I told you about the return of The 9pm Edict podcast and how the next episode would be posted on Sunday 4 May? Well it isn’t going to happen quite like that.

I did go to Sydney’s Sutherland Shire as planned yesterday. And I did record stuff. But for reasons explained in this mini-podcast, I didn’t get the material I needed to fulfil the plan. Sorry.


I’m heading back to Cronulla tomorrow. Stay tuned. I’m hoping to post the new episode on Tuesday 6 May or thereabouts.

Meanwhile you can listen to all of the episodes, now and in the future, if you subscribe to the podcast feed, or subscribe automatically in iTunes, or go to SoundCloud.

If you’d like to comment on this (non-)episode — or suggest people, places or things that I should check out — please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

You can also check out the progress videos I made on the YouTube playlist.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission. The sound of the waves breaking on the beach was recorded at Cronulla yesterday and it’s mine, I tell you, all mine.]

Screenshots from The 9 O'Clock Resurrection progress videos: click for YouTube playlistMy crowdfunding project, The 9 O’Clock Resurrection, has been successful. We have resurrected the finest goat-oriented political and social commentary podcast in the galaxy, The 9pm Edict. Haha. What have we done?

What we’ve done is fund two episodes for May.

First up, “The 9pm Shire”, by which I mean Sutherland Shire in Sydney’s southern suburbs. Our Minister for Immigration and Border Protection, Scott Morrison, said last month:

“I get so much encouragement when I walk through Cronulla mall, go down the beach, or up to Miranda Fair… On Australia Day we were at the fireworks at Cronulla and I was walking through the crowd and people were coming up to me to say ‘g’day’ and encourage me and congratulate me on what we had done so far, and basically saying ‘keep giving it to ’em and don’t back down’.”

He said residents weren’t against immigration or asylum-seekers but wanted a process that was done “the right way”.

That episode is being recorded this Saturday 3 May, and should be posted on Sunday 4 May.

And because I’m in San Francisco and San Jose later this month, the following episode will be “The 9pm Caltrain” — the Caltrain being the train that runs through that part of the world. That episode should be posted on Tuesday 20 May.

I’ve recorded an announcement, which you can listen to 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 on SoundCloud.


If you’d like to comment on this (non-)episode — or suggest people, places or things that I should check out — please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

You can also check out the progress videos I made on the YouTube playlist.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]

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