Talking Ello and ASIO on ABC Download This Show

Marc Fennell, Stilgherrian and Claire Reilly on Download This Show

ABC logoOn this week’s Download This Show on ABC Radio National, CNet news editor Claire Reilly and I joined Marc Fennell to discuss the new social network Ello and Australia’s latest national security laws.

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.

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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.

Continue reading “Talking Ello and ASIO on ABC Download This Show”

Weekly Wrap 216: The return, the throat, the stress

The Tower at Dusk: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 21 to Sunday 27 July 2014 is just about to end, after a month of virtual silence on this website. I’ve been active elsewhere, just not here. So what’s the story?

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.

Articles

Here’s everything I’ve written since Weekly Wrap 211.

Media Appearances

Quite a few since the last Weekly Wrap, but none this week. Watch out for blog posts as I publish the backlog.

5at5

Is listing them here pointless? Just head over to the 5at5 site, and either subscribe or browse back through the recent editions.

Corporate Largesse

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.]

Senator Scott Ludlam on “Corrupted Nerds”

Cover art for Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 7: click for podcast pageToday 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.

Corrupted Nerds is available via iTunes and now SoundCloud.

Weekly Wrap 176: Largely largesse, then looming bushfires

Bushfires near me, 1350 AEDT: click to embiggenI’m finding it difficult to switch into that mode where I can concentrate on my writing today. The map above explains why.

I’m at the red marker near Wentworth Falls, and the only two escape routes are the road or railway east towards Sydney or west then north-west towards Lithgow.

The smaller Mt Victoria fire on the left has, remarkably, been contained to much the same boundaries as yesterday, thanks to the hard work and backburning activities of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). So far.

The enormous State Mine Fire to the north, however, is growing. The winds, while currently forecast to be relatively mild, are nevertheless pushing the fire in this direction. And while it might look a long way away, given adverse weather conditions a bushfire can travel that distance in mere hours.

Both fires have the potential to reach Wentworth Falls, and earlier this afternoon the RFS chief said that the entire Blue Mountains could end up at risk in the coming days.

While I’m not particularly worried, I do need to stay alert in case the RFS escalates their warnings. I’m already as step ahead: I’ve packed my bug-out bag and have an evacuation plan. But that still makes it difficult to switch off that little stay-alert part of my brain and get down to writing.

So for now, here’s the quick summary of my week Monday 14 to Sunday 20 October 2013, plus the week ahead.

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