Tone-Deaf Abbott no statesman, never will be [blogjune02]

Screenshot from Tony Abbott D-Day video 600px: click to embiggen“At the going down of the sun, and in the morning, we are open for business,” tweeted @bernieb last night, adding, “As I stand here on Anzac Cove, I’m reminded of just how terrible a place Australia was before I became Prime Minister.” An utterly crass scenario, no?

@bernieb’s scenario is fictional, but it precisely mirrors the tone-deaf pollution of a D-Day Commemoration message with grubby day-to-day politics committed by Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday.

My reaction was to groan rather than laugh. but there was plenty of laughter to be had watching the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) go into damage control.

Continue reading “Tone-Deaf Abbott no statesman, never will be [blogjune02]”

Weekly Wrap 113: Slow clones and their delays

My week Monday 30 July to Sunday 5 August 2012 was dominated by the insanity involved in cloning hard drives and restoring my backup system to good working order.

Doing all of this over USB 2.0 interfaces was not helpful, but they were the only ports I had available on the loaner MacBook I’ve been using. Remember, I’m nomadic and quite often 100km from Sydney.

And then my backup drive failed…

Creating a new Time Machine backup of around 450GB of data takes 6 to 7 hours. Encrypting a 1TB drive takes nearly 23 hours. Even zeroing out a 750GB drive takes 5 hours.

And whenever you make a mistake, or a drive throws an error, you have to start that process again.

It’s been a wonderful lesson in patience. See, that’s the positive angle. Sigh.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 148, “The politics of data retention”. It’s in the news because it’s one of the ideas being floated as part of the inquiry into potential reforms of national security legislation being conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security. The podcast includes Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, national manager of high tech crime operations for the Australian Federal Police; Bernard Keane, Canberra corresponded with Crikey; and network engineer Mark Newton.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Monday I did a spot on ABC 105.7 Darwin with a couple of other people about overly-busy lifestyles, but the internet stream from which I was recording it was dodgy so I haven’t posted the audio.
  • On Tuesday night I did another regular Balls Radio spot, but I didn’t record it. That’s probably for the best, it was rather disjointed.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

I’m returning to Wentworth Falls on Monday, and have a day trip to Sydney on Thursday. In theory it’s a steady-paced week of writing. We shall see.

[Photo: Blue, being a photo of Wentworth Falls railway station on Thursday afternoon, one of the few bright spots in the week.]

Talking Stratfor hack on Perth radio 6PR

So there I was, having a quiet drink late on Friday night, chatting on Twitter with Crikey’s Bernard Keane and journalist Gabriella Lahti about the Stratfor hack, when who should poke his head over the parapet but Jason Jordan, who was about to present 6PR’s Nightline

Long story short, less than half an hour later I’m live on air chatting about the whole thing, including who Anonymous are and what their motives might be, and what might happen next.

Thanks to technical difficulties my end I couldn’t record 6PR’s audio stream, and there wasn’t time to sort that out before we went live. So this audio was recorded my end, and that means I sound just fine on my quality microphone and the radio station is at the other end of the phone.

I’ve left in a bit of my conversation with the producer before and after so you can experience The Magic of Radio. Technically that’s a breach of the NSW Surveillance Devices Act 2007 because I didn’t seek permission first but, like, shut up.

Yes, it really was just two seconds from me getting ready to being live on air.

Play

The audio is ©2011 Radio 6PR Perth Pty Ltd, but since they don’t archive these interviews I reckon it’s fair enough putting it here provided you just listen to it and I link back to 6PR and encourage you to listen. If you’re in Perth. Or if you want to stream it.

Weekly Wrap 77: Canberra, infosec, Chinese and bees

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. Given that this is being posted so late, suffice it to say that I went to Canberra again and I was too tired for much of anything by the end of the week.

Podcasts

Articles

Only two articles this week — well, that were published. There’s more to come, articles that were written but not published. Both of these, though, are from the Trend Micro Canberra Cloud Security Conference.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday, breakfast was provided at the Trend Micro Canberra Cloud Security Conference. That was the historic Hyatt Hotel Canberra, though not their full and rather wonderful buffet.
  • Also on Wednesday, I had lunch at The Chairman and Yip, Canberra, courtesy of Datacom.

Elsewhere

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 also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: As I walked from Bunjaree Cottages to Wentworth Falls today, most of Railway Parade was lined with yellow flowers. The bees seemed quite interested. I’m also very impressed with the detail on the bee, given this was shot on a sub-$300 camera.]

Return of the Hallucinating Goldfish: Help!

“My preferred term is that we’re governed by Hallucinating Goldfish. No long-term memory, and a world of imagined horrors,” I said last night.

My comment was triggered by a discussion about Australia’s debt-to-GDP ratio, which stands at 6%. Here’s a picture from March 2010, showing that even with the recent rise in debt to deal with the global financial crisis our government is debt still within the usual range historically.

Personal debt, on the other hand… Ahem!

The United States, by comparison, sits at 60%. According to one economist even that figure is wrong. It’s really 14 times greater, and he reckons the US is actually bankrupt.

But opposition parties here in Australia screech that 6% is “out of control” — even though, as Ric Hayman reminded me, it’s only a few years since one of their own was congratulated for settling things down to 6%. It was acceptable then. But now…

A debt ratio at 6% of GDP is nothing, of course. To use the traditional analogy, it’s like a household with a combined income of $100,000 taking out a loan of $6000. Quite manageable. Families regularly take out loans of 500% of their GDP to buy their own homes and it’s considered normal, even admirable.

Yes yes, if they spent that money on cocaine instead then might be different, but that’s not the issue here. Anyone who tries to equate stabilising a national economy so people can keep their jobs with a drug habit is in my opinion nothing more than a blind political tribalist. If such comments are made here I shall mock and insult you personally.

This is all part of what my Crikey colleague Bernard Keane calls the Perpetual Present of politics, “in which what happened two days ago, let alone two years ago, is forgotten”. But my preferred term is Hallucinating Goldfish

That must’ve struck a chord, because when I mentioned it last night my comment was retweeted around 30 times. I therefore pointed people to my original post, Post 801: Kill the Hallucinating Goldfish.

I was also reminded that political journalism fails to cover the vast majority of what happens in Parliament and government.

As Tim Dunlop put it, here’s “some stuff you might’ve missed if you relied on the media for all your information.” Like the House passing 29 bills, the Senate 16, and 11 bills passing both houses. Nothing important there, eh?

Quite.

Now my original Hallucinating Goldfish post now seems quite dated, and I haven’t posted anything in the Hallucinating Goldfish category in most than two and a half years. I reckon we need new examples. This is where you come in.

Please help me identify more Hallucinating Goldfish. Where are policies being proposed, or decisions being made, based on a paranoid fantasy worldview and ignoring the lessons of the past?

[Photo: Goldfish by Helga Birna Jónasdóttir, used under a Creative Commons attribution license.]

Bernard Keane on Conroy vs Lundy

[Update 1.30pm: Prime Minister Gillard has just announced her cabinet changes and Senator Conroy remains where he is. If you listen to the interview you’ll realise why.]

Now that Julia Gillard is Prime Minister, could or should Senator Kate Lundy replace Senator Stephen Conroy as Minister for Broadband, Communication and the Digital Economy?

Delimiter‘s Renai LeMai has previously suggested that Lundy would make a better communications minister, and last Thursday he asked the question again. Gizmodo Australia is even actively campaigning for the change.

ZDnet.com.au‘s David Braue also reckons Gillard can save the comms ministry by involving Lundy — although he doesn’t go as far as calling for Conroy to be sacked, instead suggesting he become the Minister for the National Broadband Network.

In this week’s Patch Monday podcast, to be posted this morning, I chat with Crikey‘s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane (pictured) about the possibility.

The #nocleanfeed anti-censorship campaigners might think a change in PM is reason enough to lobby for a change in communications minister, but Keane is not so sure. We cover that in the Patch Monday conversation.

Once we got talking, we also chatted about the historical context. A previous communications minister, Senator Richard Alston, was twice voted “global village idiot”, for instance. And we went into the political issues in more depth than appropriate for Patch Monday‘s technology industry focus. So, here’s the full conversation.

Play

I always record much more material than ends up in articles or podcasts, so I’m toying with the idea of posting all of my raw interviews here. Whaddyareckon?

Just in case I take that path, I’m creating a category of posts called Conversations, and you can subscribe to the RSS feed.