ABC logoJust before before Easter, Microsoft let their youth-targeted chatbot named Tay loose on Twitter and other social networks — and it was a disaster.

Tay was meant to hold conversations with Americans aged 18 to 24, which is why it’s named after Taylor Swift. But the project was terminated after just 16 hours, because the bot started tweeting abuse at people, and even went full neo-Nazi, declaring that “Hitler was right I hate the jews.”

Art Technica reported some analysis of what went wrong. Davi Ottenheimer summarised the problem as “weak intelligence weakened by weakness”, and pointed me to more detailed research by Russell Cameron Thomas.

I spoke about this disaster with Robbie Buck on ABC 702 Sydney, debunking some aspects of the mainstream news stories along the way.

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This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Old and New: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 21 to Sunday 28 March 2016 was a mixed bag. I finally got a podcast done, but not some other tasks. C’est la vie.

As we ramp up the medication to deal with the dog of a different colour, my sleep patterns are much disrupted. I’m hit with random waves of fatigue. That means I’m operating at roughly half capacity. In theory, that’ll stop happening after a couple more weeks, but for now I must pace myself.

But enough of that…

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Let the Fun Begin”, being The 9pm Edict episode 56, was recorded and posted on Sunday night. It’s also on Spreaker.

Articles

None, though I have a few columns for ZDNet in the pipeline.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

The short work week after Easter starts in Lilyfield, in Sydney’s inner west, but ends back in Wentworth Falls. The date of migration back to the Blue Mountains is yet to be confirmed.

Easter Monday has just begun, but apart from this blog post I won’t be doing anything too hectic.

On Wednesday, I’m going to D61+ Live 2016, an event by Data61 (“Data61 = CSIRO Digital Productivity + NICTA = the world’s leading data-focused innovation powerhouse,” they describe themselves) at Australian Technology Park. I’m particularly interested in a panel on cybersecurity. On Wednesday evening, I’ll be having a farewell drink or two with the wonderful Shuna Boyd, who’s retiring from her media relations career.

On Thursday evening, I’m covering a discussion sponsored by the International Association of Privacy Professionals Australia and New Zealand (iappANZ) on Australia’s proposed mandatory data breach notification laws. After that, I’m doing a radio spot on ABC 774 Melbourne at 1900 AEDT.

In between, I’ll be working steadily through three geek-for-hire projects, catching up a big chunk of that bookkeeping for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and writing a ZDNet column or two.

Further Ahead

The following week will be an extension of the plan just described.

After that, I should be in Canberra on 12-14 April for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference. A plan is slowly evolving.

I’ll definitely be in Sydney on 27-28 April for the Amazon Web Services Summit Sydney, then on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May for the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference.

[Photo: Old and New. A new Meriton apartment development under construction in Lewisham in Sydney’s inner west, with the old flour mill in the background. Photographed on 22 March 2016.]

Tony Abbott on the campaign trail

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull becomes the conduit, no, the tunnel of love. We revisit the economic wisdom of Joe Hockey. Euroterrorism sprouts from Brussels. And guess who’s back?

In this episode, there’s talk of lizards and leeches, homeless people and hapless riflemen, Nicholas Fryer takes us through The Arch Window, and much more.

You can listen to the podcast 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 go to SoundCloud.

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If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

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Old Target: click to embiggen My week of Monday 14 to Sunday 20 March 2016 was pretty much as planned, though slightly more tiring than I’d hoped.

Right now I’m more in the mood to listen to the rain outside than write, so I’ll leave it there.

Articles

Podcasts

None. But scroll down for details of a new episode of The 9pm Edict in just a few days.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday morning, I dropped into Tech Leaders Forum, and had a coffee on their tab. Nothing newsworthy was said, however.

The Week Ahead

I’m spending the short work week before Easter in Lilyfield, in Sydney’s inner west, as well as Easter itself. I’ll be working steadily through three geek-for-hire projects, catching up a big chunk of that bookkeeping for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO), and writing a ZDNet column.

On Wednesday night, I’m finally recording and streaming that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast. That’s at 2100 AEDT on this website. Details will be posted on Monday.

That much-delayed episode of The 9pm Edict podcast will be produced and posted over the weekend. The recording won’t be streamed live, for a number of reasons, though I might stream the finished podcast at a specific time so you can enjoy it together.

Further Ahead

The short week after Easter will be an extension of the plan just described. So will the following week, at least at this stage.

After that, I should be in Canberra on 12-14 April for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference. A plan is slowly evolving.

I’ll definitely be on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May for the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference.

Update 23 March 2016: Edited to reflect changed plans.

[Photo: Old Target. Today I found one of the National Rifle Association regulation practice targets that I used when I went to American Shooters, a firearms range in Las Vegas, in 2011. I think I need some more practice.]

The End of Summer: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 7 to Sunday 13 March 2016 was another moderately steady improvement, in both productivity and mood. I am moderately pleased.

The Canberra trip went well, as you’ll see immediately below, but it was also exhausting. The rest of the week was therefore relatively quiet.

If you follow my Twitter stream, you already know all of this, and more.

Articles

Both of these articles are derived from material presented at the Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA) Navigating Privacy and Security Summit on Tuesday.

Podcasts

None. I know you’ve heard this before, but I do want to wrap up that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast very soon. See below.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

On Monday, I’m heading a few kilometres up the Great Western Highway to Leura for part of Tech Leaders, namely a keynote by Labor’s communications spokesperson Jason Clare, and then reporting on same for ZDNet. I’ll probably have lunch in Katoomba after that.

I then plan to spend the rest of the week working on three geek-for-hire projects that have fallen behind schedule, and catching up a big chunk of that bookkeeping for the Australian Taxation Office (ATO).

That said, I hope to make the day trip to Sydney one day for a medical appointment and various errands. I’m also looking at doing that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast one evening. And I should probably write a ZDNet column in there somewhere too.

I can’t make final arrangements until Monday afternoon, however, and I need to keep the pace reasonable, so stay tuned for details.

Further Ahead

The following two weeks are the two short weeks either side of the Easter long weekend, and will mostly be an extension of the plan just described.

I then plan to be in Canberra on 12-14 April for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference. The trick will be organising travel and accommodation.

I’ll definitely be on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May for the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference.

[Photo: The End of Summer. These are the colours of an Australian summer, as you can also see from last week’s photo — and we’ve had a long one this year. Photographed from VA654 on final approach to Canberra airport (CBR) on 7 March 2016.]

Approaching Melbourne: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 29 February to Sunday 6 March 2016 was a significant improvement on the previous week — mostly because I was in Melbourne, but also due to the bad influence of that hacker and an evil cyberpixie.

As I write this, it’s still very early on Sunday morning, so technically the week hasn’t ended yet — but details. You’ll cope.

Articles

Podcasts

None, but I do want to wrap up that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast very soon. See below.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

It’s another rather structured week for me. Monday kicks off with the 1024 train down to Sydney, and at 1335 I’m catching VA648 SYD-CBR. I’m organising a meeting or two for the afternoon and evening.

On Tuesday, I’m covering the Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA) Navigating Privacy and Security Summit for ZDNet. On Wednesday, I’ll be writing about that before another meeting or two. Then at 1905 it’s VA669 CBR-SYD.

Thursday through Saturday is unplanned as yet, but I’ll be back in Wentworth Falls, and I hope to get that damn podcast done somewhere in there.

On Sunday, I’m heading a few kilometres up the Great Western Highway to Leura for day one of Tech Leaders.

Further Ahead

I’ll be in Canberra again 12-14 April for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference. And I’ll be on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May for the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference.

[Photo: Approaching Melbourne. A Virgin Australia Boeing 737-800 banks as it turns for its final approach to Melbourne Airport on 29 February 2016.]

Beer Bubbles: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 22 to Sunday 28 February 2016 was another relative unproductive one, for reasons explained last time, but it was an improvement. Improvement is good.

A personal update will be posted in the next few days. For now, on with the show…

Podcasts

None, but I do want to wrap up that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast very soon. See below.

Articles

None, but I have a ZDNet column being published on Monday.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

This will be the first is a series of quite structured weeks for me, which will be a challenge. I daresay I may have to change a few things as I go along. But with that said, here’s the plan…

On Monday, I’ll catch the 0734 train to Sydney, completing my ZDNet column en route. At 1100, I’ll catch VA834 SYD-MEL. Once I’ve checked in to my hotel, I’ll bring my various geek-for-hire projects up to date.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ll be covering the APIdays conference for ZDNet, and catching up with friends in the evenings. On Thursday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet, and having a couple of work-related meetings, before catching VA859 MEL-SYD at 1600. I’ll probably return to Wentworth Falls that night.

Friday through Saturday? Well, that depends on my energy levels. But I hope to get that podcast done somewhere in there.

Further Ahead

The following week, I’ll be in Canberra from Monday 7 March for the Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA) Navigating Privacy and Security Summit on Tuesday. I’ll probably stay in Canberra on Wednesday. Then on Sunday, I’ll be back in the Blue Mountains for Tech Leaders.

I’ll be in Canberra again 12-14 April for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference. And I’ll be on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May for the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference.

[Photo: Beer Bubbles, specifically the Katoomba Brewing Company Great Western Golden Ale, photographed on 22 February 2016.]

Federation Reflections: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 15 to Sunday 21 February 2016 was full of fatigue as I began the multi-month process of changing management plans to deal with a different dog.

A certain new medication is great fun (not). It even comes with such a lovely (not) list of potential side effects, some of which cause what might accurately be called occasional death, that the transition process lasts two or three months.

The fatigue and disrupted sleep patterns that made this week almost completely non-productive were within the expected range of problems, however. The coming week is likely to be much the same, which is one reason why the plan listed below is just an unscheduled list.

One brief observation from recent weeks: I’ve had so much experience in the broadcast media, and I’m so comfortable with it, that doing radio and TV spots don’t feel like work. Neither do podcasts, of course. I should perhaps shift my focus to doing more of that. Assuming people would pay for it occasionally.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

I’m keeping the coming week flexible, not just for the medical reasons listed above, but also because I’ll only be able to make some of the finer-grained arrangements on Monday.

However the week is likely to include writing for ZDNet, work on several geek-for-hire projects, more bookkeeping related to my outstanding income tax returns, and the production of an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

There will also be a trip down to Sydney at some point, because I have to collect a package, but I’ll schedule that around any work appointments which might arise.

Further Ahead

Subsequent weeks will have more structure.

I’ll be returning to Melbourne on Monday 29 February to cover the APIdays conference on 1-2 March, returning to Sydney on Thursday 3 March.

I’ll be in Canberra on Tuesday 8 March for the Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA) Navigating Privacy and Security Summit. Then if all goes to plan, the rest of the week will be spent in Melbourne at Cisco LIVE!. Then on Sunday I’ll be back in the Blue Mountains for Tech Leaders.

[Photo: Federation Reflections. The eastern side of Deakin Edge at Melbourne’s Federation Square, photographed on 11 February 2016. Which was last week.]

ABC logoLast Sunday, Telstra gave free data to all its mobile customers in an attempt to make up for a major screw-up in the previous week. That triggered a conversation…

As a variety of news outlets reported, one guy managed to download more than 420GB of stuff. Telstra’s mobile network was reported to be pretty slow as many other selfish pigs pigged out.

On Wednesday, I told Vanessa Mills on ABC Kimberley in Western Australia how people could reduce their mobile data usage and increase their battery like. This is the resulting nine-minute conversation.

Play

This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The ABC also turned this into a news story, Simple tricks to double your phone’s battery life and halve your data usage, posted Thursday morning.

Yabby House: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 8 to Sunday 14 February 2016 is well gone now. It mostly went to plan, except for me being somewhat more tired than I’d hoped — which let me to skip most of the social events.

I’ll tell you more in the next Weekly Wrap. For now, just the facts…

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Pause Fest paid for my flights to Melbourne and one night of hotel accommodation, as well as some food and drink. This doesn’t really count as largesse, though, because I was speaking at their event, and I wasn’t paid for that.

[Photo: Yabby House. I’d never expected to find an eating house named after Australia’s freshwater crustacean, but I found one in Melbourne on 10 February 2016.]

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