The most remarkable event in the week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 February 2020 was the rain. A lot of rain. In just three days Wentworth Falls received 279mm. With another 100mm expected before 9am Monday, that’ll be more than half the total rainfall of 2019.Continue reading “Weekly Wrap 506: Parliament returns, and so do the rains”
The rise and rise of Call of Duty: It’s bigger than Harry Potter, bigger than James Bond: It’s the warfare video game Call of Duty. We step inside one of the studios responsible for building the biggest game on the planet to take the temperature of where blockbuster gaming is headed. And could the rising social network Ello be a viable alternative for the Facebook-weary? The four-thousand people signing up every hour apparently believe so. But are they being swindled? Plus #HeyASIO is perhaps the most popular Twitter hashtag in Australia. So just what do our new counter-terrorism laws really mean? We separate hyperbole from fact.
The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s served here directly from the ABC website.
As usual, one of the segments was also made into a video, and that’s over the fold, immediately below.
One of the reasons there hasn’t been so many posts here lately is that I’ve been doing quite a few media spots. I’m about to start catching up — starting with yesterday’s appearance on ABC Radio National’s Life Matters to talk about the Australian government’s plans for mandatory data retention of so-called “metadata”.
To protect against home-grown terrorism and other criminal threats, the government wants telecommunications companies to retain details of your phone and internet use for two years. So should we trade off privacy for security or is this surveillance by the state a threat to civil liberties?
The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and it’s served here directly from the ABC website.
I’ve been exhausted. A few weeks ago I made the mistake of spending a Friday evening in a Sydney mass-market bar with ordinary people, and I seem to have picked up some sort of disease. An infection. A lurgy. Whatever. As far as I can tell, it’s something that’s currently doing the rounds in Sydney. A sore throat with fatigue that’s difficult to shake. So I’m not too worried, just annoyed.
I also went for nearly a week without a computer, when my MacBook Pro had to go in for repairs. That was more disruptive to my work patterns than I’d hoped. Maybe I’ll write about that soon. Maybe not. The short version is that an iPad is just not the same.
And as a third disruption, there was a technical crisis that affected the clients of my other little business, and which took over my attention for two long days. I don’t think I’ll write about that at all, because it’s annoying.
The combined result, however, is that I’ve only had energy to focus on those things, plus the things that I’d committed to do and which generated immediate revenue. Well, some of them anyway. And everything else has been burned.
I plan to back-fill the missing posts of media appearances and the like, but they’ll have to wait for about a week. Meanwhile, this Weekly Wrap contains the links to the stuff that is available now, and a plan for the week ahead. And a photo.
Oh, and I should also mention that on Thursday and Friday I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a two-day “Writing for the Web” course at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). It made a lovely change from my usual solitary work.
Here’s everything I’ve written since Weekly Wrap 211.
- Do the Privacy Commissioner’s teeth have any bite?, ZDNet Australia, 30 June 2014.
- Facebook manipulation yet more evidence of Silicon Valley’s contempt, Crikey, 30 June 2014.
- Ancient vulnerabilities are geddon in the way of security, ZDNet Australia, 3 July 2014.
- Twitter becoming the latest instrument of terrorism, Crikey, 4 July 2014.
- Big data is just a big, distracting bubble, soon to burst, ZDNet Australia, 11 July 2014.
- Is a second Snowden spilling more NSA secrets?, Crikey, 15 July 2014.
- Government’s voting source code secrecy is dumb and dangerous, ZDNet Australia, 17 July 2014.
- Beware the spin behind Australia’s new surveillance laws, ZDNet Australia, 21 July 2014.
Quite a few since the last Weekly Wrap, but none this week. Watch out for blog posts as I publish the backlog.
Is listing them here pointless? Just head over to the 5at5 site, and either subscribe or browse back through the recent editions.
None this week. I’ll report the rest in the next Weekly Wrap.
The Week Ahead
Monday is about finishing a column for ZDNet Australia and producing an episode of The 9pm Edict, as well as wrapping up some geekery for a client.
Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be in Sydney covering the ADMA Global Forum for Crikey and Technology Spectator. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting Bob Garfield, co-presenter of WNYC’s On the Media.
Also on Tuesday evening I’m heading to the OpenAustralia Foundation pub night.
On Thursday there’s a media briefing on various information security matters by Cisco and, in the evening, drinks with executives from Oracle.
Friday will see me wrapping up whatever media objects need completing, and then the weekend is unplanned.
And at various points through the week I’ll be trialling a Microsoft Nokia Lumia 930 smartphone, their latest flagship model, with particular attention being given to the camera.
[Photo: The Tower at Dusk, being a shot of a mobile phone tower at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains earlier this evening.]
Today I posted the first of three podcasts that will emerge from my coverage of the Breakpoint and Ruxcon conferences in Melbourne recently.
I managed to catch Greens Senator Scott Ludlam for a few minutes in between his session on the Ruxcon panel and whatever his next function was, and we spoke about the new attorney-general Senator George Brandis’ appointment of a former ASIO director-general as his chief of staff.
By the time I added the introduction and theme music and the like, all of those format elements ended up being longer than the interview itself, so I decided to add my own opinion. That means it’s a bit different from how Corrupted Nerds: Conversations normally works, but I’m hoping it’s interesting nonetheless.
In the next few days there’ll be two further, full-length podcasts. One is about electronic voting and why voting on the internet is a bad idea. The other covers how people have been discovering all sorts of things about North Korea using free and commercially-available satellite imagery to do their own intelligence work. Stay tuned.