Talking data retention on ABC Local Radio

The current parliamentary inquiry into Australia’s national security laws has become a mildly hot media topic this week, so I ended up doing a backgrounder on ABC Local Radio last night with Dom Knight.

I should probably write more about this some time. And I will. But for now, here’s that 18-minute conversation. Including our digression into talking about that fine TV drama The Wire.

Play

The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it isn’t being archived anywhere else.

Where in the World is Stilgherrian?

If you haven’t been following my Twitter stream you may wonder where I’ve been. Well, right this moment I’m in Singida in northern Tanzania, sitting at a desk in ActionAid’s district office here. All is going well with Project TOTO.

Today (D5) we’ve drove north from the capital Dodoma, headed for Mwanza on Lake Victoria. I reckon I’ll only get to post meaningful — or at least lengthy — material once I get a few hours to myself. And I’ve no idea when that’s likely to happen.

It’s half-way through my time in Tanzania and we’ve travelled half the country it seems. I can’t post much while on the move — have you ever tried to type on a netbook while your 4WD is doing 60km/h down a dodgy temporary road dodging b-double petrol trucks which suddenly emerge from the dust right in front of you? So I’ve decided instead to take copious notes — mental, pictorial and on paper — and let the writing emerge once I return to Sydney.

Meanwhile, check out the photos Lena Aahlby took, posted over at Archie Law’s blog.

First ActionAid blog online

Screenshot of Archie@ActionAid, the first ActionAid blog: click to go there

Before Project TOTO takes me to Tanzania — in just 20 hours — I had to get ActionAid Australia‘s blogs online. Done! With, oh, hours to spare!

Stressed much? Oh yes!

Archie@ActionAid is the new personal blog of CEO Archie Law. His first post, From Melbourne to New York, Phnom Penh, Johannesburg and back, reveals his not-very-secret musical background and why he’s dedicated a good chunk of his life to the international humanitarian and development sector.

It’s Archie’s first entrance into the blogosphere so, please, have a read and let him know what you’d like to hear about. You can also follow Archie on Twitter.

If you’re interested in the technical details, read on…

Continue reading “First ActionAid blog online”

NBN: Of course there are no applications yet!

Photograph of Jerry Watkins

The guy in the photo is Jerry Watkins, Senior Lecturer in the Faculty of Design at Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne — and I want to slap him.

This morning he was a guest on ABC Radio National’s FutureTense, where he talked about some fantastic third-world technology projects, like India’s DakNet.

A Wi-Fi transmitter and receiver is fitted to the local bus. So the bus drives along its normal route, goes through a number of villages, and what it’s doing while it’s stopping at the bus stop in each village, is simply picking up and delivering information via Wi-Fi from publicly-accessible computers in each village… Once it gets back into town, it simply uploads all its stored data onto the Internet… So in this way, the rural community is getting access to a very affordable internet connection, it’s just simply not always on…

It’s services like e-shopping which are proving increasingly popular with these users. So e-shopping is using the bus internet system, and it allows villagers to order essential items and luxury items, which just aren’t available at the village market. And what’s more, the items are often delivered to the village on the very same bus with the Wi-Fi transmitter.

Awesome. But that’s not why I want to slap him.

I want to slap Jerry Watkins because he said daft things about Australia’s proposed National Broadband Network.

Continue reading “NBN: Of course there are no applications yet!”

Um, yes, Episode 48 has been online for ages

Screenshot from Stilgherrian Live episode 48, including a picture of ActionAid Australia CEO Archie Law

Oh this is shocking! It’s 10 full days since Stilgherrian Live episode 48 was broadcast, and I’ve failed to tell you that it’s online for you viewing pleasure.

Well, it is.

We had another tie for “Cnut of the Week”. Australian banks, who charged record levels of bank fees despite the global financial crisis, were in 4th place (13%). US Senators, for failing to vote for the finding needed to close the notorious Guantanamo Bay prison were 3rd (17%). And in equal first place (35%) were Catholic power-brokers for failing to act on allegations of child sexual abuse, and Michael Lynton, CEO of Sony Pictures, who reckons nothing good has come from the Internet, period.

Congratulations to Sean the Blogonaut, who won a t-shirt from our friends at King Cnut Ethical Clothing — and a big raspberry to Sheila who would’ve won if she were watching the program when her name was drawn from the Cocktail Shaker of Integrity.

The program also included an interview with ActionAid Australia CEO Archie Law about our forthcoming Project TOTO.

I’m hoping that Stilgherrian Live will return at 9.30pm Thursday night, though that’ll depend on how hectic things get.

Look, about that damn topless gnome…

“The greatest challenge to implementing social media within any organisation is the willingness for that organisation to accept the cultural change that will ultimately occur. And occur dramatically and at a rapid pace. Social media holds a mirror up to an organization from the external customers/clients/constituents that shows an authentic, and sometimes unexpected, face.”Nick Hodge

“I’d add that that face is almost always unexpected.”Mark Pesce (in private conversation)

Topless gnome Gnaomi, standing near the book The State of Africa by Martin Meredith, from the opening to Stilgherrian Live episode 48

Clearly I’m not going to get anything else written until I respond to The Gnome Situation. I’ve been reading the comments and mulling possible responses for days. It’s getting in the way of actual, productive work. So here we go.

No. I will not be removing Gnaomi from my desk.

Discussing an issue as important as rape through the proxy of an anthropomorphised piece of clay seems, to me, a poor tactic. Nor will I compromise the actual or perceived independence of my media output, no matter how worthy the cause.

There’ll probably be people at ActionAid who won’t like or understand that outcome, so here’s the long explanation…

Continue reading “Look, about that damn topless gnome…”