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ABC logoOn Thursday, Mornings on ABC 1233 Newcastle noticed that some big businesses in the US had turned off voicemail, using text messaging instead. They also noted that many people had stopped using voicemail personally too.

That led to a conversation on the radio with Rosemarie Milsom, and here’s a recording.


The audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC Sydney TARDIS 1ABC logoYahoo was the victim of the biggest data breach in history, at least so far, so it was inevitable that I ended up talking about it in the media.

This is my conversation with Jonathan Green on ABC Radio National Drive on Friday night.

Yahoo has confirmed the theft of user data including e mail addresses, birth dates, encrypted passwords and security questions. It took the internet giant two years to find out about the massive data breach. Stilgherrian is a Yahoo user and avid writer and commentator on the topic of cyber security and privacy. He talks to RN Drive about the incident.

And here’s what it sounded like.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served directly from the ABC website.

[Photo: The view in ABC Sydney TARDIS 1, photographed in April 2016.]

Screenshot from The Code series 2ABC logoI haven’t made a big deal of being technology consultant for the new series of the ABC TV drama The Code — at least not here — but we decided to talk about that on ABC 774 Melbourne on Thursday night.

The conversation with Casey Bennetto also included some of the recent news about self-driving and smart cars — and, for some reason, the Twitter account Florida Man. Amongst other things.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Photo: Jan Roth (Anthony LaPaglia) and Jesse Banks (Ashley Zukerman) in The Code series 2. Photo courtesy ABC TV.]

Facebook's Project Aquila

ABC logoOn Wednesday I spoke with ABC Radio National about Facebook’s Project Aquila. I’ll let their introduction explain it.

Facebook’s ‘Aquila’ drone has the wingspan of a 737 airliner. But it’s powered by the equivalent of three blow-dryers, and it will stay aloft for months at a time.

It’s a technological feat, built with the idea of extending internet connectivity to more of the developing world.

But the net commentator Stilgherrian explains that Facebook’s offering comes with certain limits.

Here’s the full conversation with presenter Michael Mackenzie, which also included a few words about Google’s Project Loon and net neutrality.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation and is being served directly from the ABC website.

[Photo: Facebook’s ‘Aquila’ aerial internet platform has the same wingspan as a Boeing 737 airliner. (supplied)]

ABC logoThe second of my two radio spots about the 2016 Census was with Adam Shirley on ABC 666 Canberra. I think it’s the better of the two, probably because it was my second go at some intelligent-sounding sound bites.

For the background on this Census issue, see the previous post.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoAustralia’s 2016 Census is turning out to be the most controversial in history, mostly because the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) has decided to keep people’s names and addresses associated with their raw Census data for four years, and perhaps longer.

This has of course triggered privacy concerns.

Personally, I think the ABS has only itself to blame, because they didn’t include us citizens in the journey this decision, and they’ve been hopeless at explaining themselves.

I wrote about this for ZDNet on Monday, Census privacy risks are not what they seem, and that triggered a couple of radio spots.

This conversation with Nicole Dyer on ABC Gold Coast was the first. It begins with some comments from the ABS Census Director, Caroline Deans.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC Sydney TARDIS 1ABC logoThe massive global phenomenon that is the Pokémon Go augmented reality game naturally caught the interest of media producers all over — including at ABC 774 Melbourne.

Here’s my chat with Wendy Touhy from the evening of 20 July. I’m hoping I didn’t screw up some detail of the game, although I’m pretty sure I did.

We also spoke about one of my pet topics, the risks of electronic voting.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Photo: Ready to go live on ABC 774 Melbourne from ABC Sydney TARDIS 1, 20 July 2016.]

Signage at ABC Ultimo

ABC logoThis week’s news that Mitsubishi’s Outlander hybrid car had been hacked caught the eye of ABC Radio producer Amber Tripp. As a result, I ended up talking about this topic on ABC 720 Perth and ABC 774 Melbourne.

This is the Melbourne radio spot, a lengthy discussion of the smart car hacking, as well as many semi-related topics. The presenter is Casey Bennetto.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Photo: Signage at the rear entrance to ABC Ultimo, photographed on 6 June 2016.]

ERT 2016: part of the stage for  AusCERT 2016

ABC logoAs careful readers will know, I’ve spent most of the week on Australia’s Gold Coast at the AusCERT 2016 Conference. That piqued the interest of ABC Gold Coast.

On Thursday morning I recorded a chat about various security and cybercrime topics of interest, which was edited down to this 16-minute conversation.

The presenter is Nicole Dyer.


This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

[Photo: Part of the stage for AusCERT 2016, photographed on 25 May 2016.]

Malcolm Turnbull announces the federal electionMy week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 May 2016 was essentially a continuation of the previous week, although the illnesses both physical and digital have ended.

Well, the short-term medical conditions anyway. The long-term conditions are both being addressed more or less according to plan. Ish.

I’ll tell you about the key events another time, however. For now, just the essentials.


I’m quite pleased with this episode, and what little feedback I’ve had about the potential future of this podcast suggests that this magazine format is the way to go — although the Public House Forum episodes also seem popular.


Jobs and growth, jobs and growth, jobs and growth. Australia’s federal election has finally been confirmed for Saturday 2 July. We have an eight-week campaign, which means there should be at least two episodes of the Edict.

The mediascape will be filled with the usual commentary and mainstream punditry based on each day’s action. So for my own efforts, in podcasts or elsewhere, I intend to slow down and get outside that bubble.

What will this mean in practice? I don’t know yet. Watch this space.


Media Appearances

  • Mark Newton decided to preserve my rant about Senator James Paterson from Thursday night. I was angry that he’d asked a question in Senate Estimates about the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) spending $50,000 on a custom typeface, the answer to which he could have found by reading any news story on the topic. I’ll have more to say about that another time.
  • On Sunday, I was quoted in an article, My innovation is bigger than your innovation, by Ken Wolff at The Political Sword. It’s an interesting read, in which I play a tiny, tiny part.

Corporate Largesse


The Week Ahead

I’ll be based at Wentworth Falls for most of the week, I believe, and it begins with a day off on Monday.

Remarkably, the rest of the week has no fixed appointments, but I’ve got plenty to do. There’s the usual writing for ZDNet and perhaps Crikey, the geek-for-hire work, and the neverending work to bring my tax affairs up to date. I’ll also have to lock in my podcast and election campaign plans. But I’ll be able to work on these things in the most comfortable order. This pleases me.

The weekend is similarly unplanned. Joy.

Further Ahead

On 24-27 May, I’m covering the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference on the Gold Coast. Apart from my usual conference coverage, once more I’ll be on the panel for the event’s closing Speed Debate.

[Photo: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces the federal election on 8 May 2016. Screenshot from ABC News24.]

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