Weekly Wrap 12

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. Not so much media work this week, but what I did do related to the hung parliament and the importance of broadband to the independent MPs who hold the balance of power.



  • Patch Monday episode 54, “Broadband election’s harsh come-down”, which explains the issues as they stood on Monday 23 August 2010, plus a repeat of my conversation from earlier this year with Jan Meijer of Norway’s UNINETT explaining why online voting is a lot trickier than might seem.

Media Appearances

None. I was surprised by this. But then again everyone wanted to talk to the “block of three” independent MPs, not me.


I still spend roughly a third of my time doing random “geek for hire” stuff with a few long-standing clients. I reckon I might as well list any significant moments.

  • Cleaned up the home page for Fender Australia. They’ve been a client for a decade now, and the guts of the website includes hundreds of manually-maintained pages which date back to 2001. The red and black design was a quick re-skin back in 2007. This week’s work was simply to tidy up a layout which had become messy since then. Yes, it will become a database-driven website soon. We’ve also been saying that for at least two years.


I should also mention that most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos eventually appear on Flickr.

[Photo: Modern Living in Enmore, a shop window full of wigs on dummies’ heads, Enmore Road.]

Talking Twitter and the election on Syn Radio

I’ve just been chatting about Twitter and other internet issues during the Australian Federal Election 2010 with Melbourne’s Syn Media, which broadcasts on 90.7 FM. And here’s a podcast.

I was interviewed by Tamsyn Byrne and Emma Buckley Lennox for the “Below the Line” election program. This recording is missing the final few seconds of the conversation, but that was really just the thank-you and a mention of my website.

The Conversations category is where I post the unedited versions of interviews I do, or the various media spots I do which aren’t podcast elsewhere. If you’d like to grab all of them in the future, subscribe to the RSS feed.

ICT Election Forum: what questions?

The Australian Computer Society (ACS) is once more holding a Federal Election Forum on ICT issues, with the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy Senator Stephen Conroy, his Coalition counterpart Tony Smith MP, and The Greens’ spokesperson Senator Scott Ludlam.

As you can see from the photos, Australia’s political diversity is once more represented by a bunch of middle-aged men in dark suits.

When I wrote about the equivalent event in 2007, I noted that the Minster at the time, Liberal Senator Helen Coonan, looked rattled and scored a few own goals. Conroy, by comparison, was alert and scored some sharp political points. And Democrat leader Senator Lyn Allison — remember the Democrats? — was quietly confident.

Labor’s broadband promise was a Fibre to the Node network with a “guaranteed” minimum speed of 12Mb/sec to 98% of Australians, costing $4.7 billion. The Liberals were promising WiMaX through the OPEL consortium. From memory, mandatory internet censorship didn’t even get a mention, as both parties only added that little gem to their agendas after the official campaign period had started.

How times have changed…

This year’s moderator is Sky News political editor, David Speers. An odd choice, I must say. Sure, he has the profile and Sky News Business is the host broadcaster. But wouldn’t it have been better to have someone with a better technical knowledge of the portfolio, rather than a general political news reporter? My worry is that it’ll degenerate into political point-scoring rather than analysing competing policies.

So let’s help out Mr Speers. What are the issues this year, do you think? What questions should he ask?

I think we can take a question or two about internet censorship for granted. Please try to think beyond the obvious indignation du jour.

The Federal Election Forum is next Tuesday 10 August 2010 at the National Press Club in Canberra. The debate starts at 1pm Canberra time and will be broadcast on Sky News Business and possibly ABC News 24. [Update 3pm: The Forum will also be streamed live at YouTube’s Australia Votes channel.]

[Photo credits: Stephen Conroy via Wikimedia Commons. Tony Smith via Office of Tony Smith MP. Scott Ludlam via The Greens. This composite image is licensed for re-use under a Creative Commons CC-BY-SA-2.0 license.]

Weekly Wrap 8

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets.



  • Patch Monday episode 50, “Security lessons from Adobe Reader” with guest Brad Arkin, who heads up security and privacy at Adobe. The next version of Adobe Reader for Windows to be released later this year will include a “sandbox”, making it much more resistant to certain kinds of attacks.

Media Appearances

  • On Thursday afternoon I did a quick spot on ABC Radio Statewide NSW with Paul Turton, talking about, of all things, running out of IP addresses, DNSSEC and this mangled story about the seven secret people who can reboot the internet. Alas, this isn’t podcast anywhere.
  • On Friday I recorded an interview with ABC Radio National’s Future Tense which will be broadcast next Thursday.

[Photo: Circular Quay viewed from the railway station, photographed on 27 July 2010. We really do take this view for granted.]

The 9pm Edict #12

The 9pm Edict Australia’s federal election campaign kicks off in a flurry of cliché. And the instant-continuous news media battle to be relevant.

Given that we’ve got a federal election campaign on our hands, I figured I’d resurrect The 9pm Edict podcast. And here it is.

You can listen below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

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.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission. Responsibility for election commentary is taken by Stilgherrian, Enmore, New South Wales.]