“To boldly go…” and the Cycle of Time

To boldly go...: click to embiggenThere’s something symbolic and, indeed, deeply personal about the image illustrating this week’s Weekly Wrap, my five-year old photograph titled To boldly go….

A small boat heads out into the fog of San Francisco Bay on 10 December 2010. Even though it’s probably just crossing the bay to Marin County, or stopping near Alcatraz Island for a spot of fishing, it looks like there’s a vast and dangerous journey ahead.

It continues to be one of my personal favourites.

I’ve used this photo before, to illustrate Weekly Wrap 267: Chaos, then embracing the change, on 19 July 2015.

But I also used it four years earlier, on 24 January 2011, to illustrate Accommodation: into the unknown. I’d had to leave Enmore with no clear plan. I was worried. The image reflected my mood.

Less than a fortnight after that post, three strong men and a truck took away all my household possessions and office furniture, and put it into storage.

I took just two suitcases of clothing and my most important tools and documents, and headed to the Blue Mountains to stay at Bunjaree Cottages for “a few weeks”. I had a month of work-related travel coming up, I said, and I’d sort out my accommodation when I got back.

Five years later, I’m still at Bunjaree Cottages.

And it’s still temporary.

Continue reading ““To boldly go…” and the Cycle of Time”

Weekly Wrap 283: It’s raining progress, but mostly in audio

Central Station in the rain: click to embiggenSpring this year seems to have a certain momentum. My week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 November 2015 was yet another continuation of the steady progress in the eternal battle against entropy.

I won’t go into details, lest I jinx it. But apart from the handful of completed items listed below, I made solid progress on the documentary I’m producing for ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, and on developing the audio rig I plan to use for future work.

Most remarkable of all was the fact that I didn’t have to do any work on the weekend — well, apart from this Weekly Wrap.

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Live Animal Experiments 1”, being The 9pm Edict episode 52, was recorded live and streamed onto the internet on Thursday night. Being able to produce this audio material live is a significant milestone, and I’ll talk about that more in the coming week.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

Should 5at5 eventually reappear, you’ll know about it if you subscribe.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

Monday morning is about bringing my various geek-related jobs up to date, including quoting for two new jobs. The afternoon is devoted to Future Tense production, kicking off with an interview recording at midday.

On Tuesday, I’ll be catching the 0606 train to Sydney, then a bus to the University of NSW, because I’m on a panel at the Law via Internet (LvI) Conference 2015. I can only stay at the conference up until lunchtime, however, because I’ll be doing Future Tense production in the afternoon. I’ll then stay in Sydney overnight, because…

On Wednesday, I’m going to briefings by Raytheon/Websense and Kaspersky Lab, over morning tea and lunch respectively, before returning to Wentworth Falls in the late afternoon.

On Thursday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet, then continuing with the radio production. My aim is to complete the program by Friday, and then spend the rest of Friday mapping put all my production work for the rest of the year. The production will almost certainly continue into the weekend.

Update 11 November 2015: Edited to reflect schedule changes.

[Photo: Central Station in the rain, photographed on 4 November 2015.]

Weekly Wrap 259: Another introspective calm before a storm

Glenbrook Gorge: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 18 to Sunday 24 May 2015 wasn’t overly productive — as the lack of published articles and podcasts listed below suggests — but it was the calm before the storm rather than a disaster.

Mostly.

Shut up. This is my story, and I’m sticking to it.

Podcasts

None.

Articles

None.

5at5

There were four editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

It’s the first of several busy weeks, made more busy by the fact that I’ve fallen behind in my writing.

On Monday, I’ll be filing a column for ZDNet, then working on a feature story. That’s likely to continue into Tuesday and Wednesday, wiping out previous plans to head to Sydney for a SANS Institute gathering and Optus Vision 2015.

On Thursday I’ll be watching a SANS Institute webcast on “Continuous Monitoring, Real World Analysis and Strategies to Mitigate Targeted Attacks”, and then writing it up as a column for ZDNet.

On Friday, I’ll be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, I reckon. And then it’s the weekend.

Further Ahead

On Tuesday 2 June, I’ll be in Sydney yet again for Check Point’s Cyber Security Symposium 2015, and then flying to the Gold Coast for the AusCERT 2015 Information Security Conference, which runs through to Friday 5 June. Then it’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, and I haven’t quite decided what happens with that.

[Photo: Glenbrook Gorge, which is my favourite part of the train journey from the Blue Mountains down to Sydney, photographed on 20 May 2015.]

Weekly Wrap 131: Gentle chaos in suburbia, Mr Dean

The week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 December 2012 was, by choice, somewhat less hectic than those preceding it. There was much rejoicing.

That said, plans to record the Patch Monday podcast early fell into a heap. There’s something odd about that podcast.

Podcasts

Articles

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

  • Tuesday lunchtime I attended Optus’ 4G Showcase at The Forresters Hotel in Surry Hills. There was food. And wine.

The Week Ahead

On Monday (today), apart from wrapping up the various media projects that need to come together, I’m heading to North Sydney Girls High School to be one of the assessors in a remarkable project. The Year 10 girls have taken five weeks off normal school work to research how the smartphone is changing the world. It strikes me that this 16-year-old view of the subject is likely to be somewhat different from that of the usual middle-aged pundits, so I’ll return on Friday to record some material for a Patch Monday podcast to be published on 24 December.

In between there’ll be various bits of writing, as usual, and we’re recording next week’s Patch Monday podcast on Wednesday morning.

On Thursday night there’s the CBS Interactive Christmas party, and on Friday there’s the Watterson PR Christmas lunch.

[Photo: James Dean branded shortbread, because of his long association with baked products, photographed yesterday at a supermarket in Sydney. What Mr Dean has to do with New Zealand butter shortbread is beyond me.]

Weekly Wrap 129: Chaos from the past, with added manga

Monday 19 to Sunday 25 November 2012 was just a little too chaotic for my liking. The overall theme, if chaos can be said to have a theme, was “The past is coming back to bite you. Several times.”

Not deep, existential shark bites. More like bee stings, or perhaps spider bites. Plus a couple of dog bites, like the one I got from that goddam collie back in the mid-1980s. The damn thing infected my hand and it took a cocktail of three heavy-duty antibiotics to be rid of it. To this day, my left hand is significantly weaker.

Yes, your past can bite you, and you are then weakened.

The lesson there is to never entrust the proper training of a dog to rent boys, no matter how good their drugs are.

Yeah I think the rest of this story can probably wait until another time.

During my two weeks in (mostly) Singapore and Coffs Harbour, I was too exhausted to mentally process Certain Events. I flew to Singapore before I’d completely killed a throat infection, and I didn’t realise that the antibiotic I was taking was increasing the severity of my insomnia. I arrived on Shopping Mall Container Terminal Island in a run-down state.

Exhaustion goes well with Endless Free Alcohol, does it not?

Fortunately I’d almost-planned this week to contain a little less work. My intention was to start pondering my plans for 2013 and beyond, both professionally and personally. For various reasons I won’t go into today, both are at turning-points. Clarity of thought must be obtained, because decisions must be made.

The Certain Events provided much food for this thought. Two of the more significant Certain Events were re-establishing contact with two people — quite unconnected with each other — who I hadn’t seen in something like 14 or 16 years.

One was a reminder of… well, let’s just say it was a reminder that our lives are full of choices, many of them unconscious. Had our choices been different, then our lives would have unfolded very differently also.

In Singapore I discovered that 16 years ago there was a choice I could have made. Had I been consciously aware of it, I might well have said yes. But that door has long since been closed. My life unfolds as it does. As does his.

The other was a reminder that… well, that 14 or 16 years is a long time, and I’m getting older. That in turn triggered some very deep reflections indeed about many other choices made, large and small, wise and less so. So many of the last.

On Friday a very different piece of the past came back to haunt me. A client decided to dredge out an HTML email template that I’d written for them some time in the Early Neolithic Era, and use it in a campaign that very day. Needless to say, this ancient code didn’t render properly in recent versions of Microsoft Outlook.

Friday suddenly became hectic. But thanks to excellent technical support from Sydney-based email marketing platform Campaign Monitor, and in particular from Stig Morten Myre in Norway, I could skip the whole “re-learn email-client HTML rendering because time plus arseholes equals frustration” bit and just focus on implementing tricks that would, in fact, work. Thank you Stig.

This extra work meant that Saturday became a long working day too. But everything was smooth, if time-consuming. And now here I sit, in the quiet of the eucalypt scrubland near Wentworth Falls. A quiet that is likely to be the calm before a literal storm this evening. Pondering.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 164, “InfoSec in flux, facing fads with FUD”. A conversation with Sourcefire founder and CTO Martin Roesch.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday night I attended Nokia’s Lumia Lounge event at Kaya Sydney, where we were all provided with rather pleasant food and drink.

The Week Ahead

The week ahead is apparently the start of the Christmas party season. Jesus wept. Added to that, technology companies look like they’re blowing their remaining PR budgets for the quarter on media briefings. So there’ll be plenty of corporate largesse to report next time.

As far as media production goes, I’ve got the Patch Monday podcast to finalise first thing Monday morning, then a story each for CSO Online and Technology Spectator before the end of the week. I want to lock in some more, and I think I’ll be able to pitch something both to ZDNet and Crikey.

Logistically, I plan to head to Sydney on Wednesday morning and stay a few days attending various events.

On Wednesday there’s a Retail Tech Forum lunch organised by Bass PR for some of their clients, and in the evening there’s a party with Securus Global.

On Thursday there’s the lunchtime Sydney media launch for Uber (which is essentially the on-demand ordering of a black town car via smartphone apps, so screw you taxi industry oligopolists!), followed by the Internet Industry Association’s Nautical Policy Party on Sydney Harbour (don’t ask), and then an evening party held jointly by the four boutique PR firms known as “The Indies”.

How the end of the week will play out has yet to be decided, but on Sunday I’ll be transferring myself to Hurstville to house-sit for a friend through until early January.

At least that’s the plan as of now. Stay tuned. Eris is a fickle bitch.

[Photo: Japanese-inspired toilet door signage, at Kaya Sydney. These cartoon characters are all well and good, but when I’m in a hurry to take a slash I don’t need the extra puzzle time of reading highly-stylised gender markers in a dimly-lit corridor.]

Weekly Wrap 125: Intelligence and infection

It’s hard to believe that just two weeks ago I was dealing with snow because this week, Monday 22 to Sunday 28 October 2012, included a day of working at Manly beach.

As you’ll read in a moment, it also included a series of digs at Australia’s law enforcement and intelligence communities. And it wrapped up on Saturday with the discovery that I’ve been suffering from a rather nasty throat infection. Which explains why I was so tired and irritable.

Penicillin to the rescue!

Podcasts

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

The week begins tonight with a midnight recording for this week’s Patch Monday podcast. Then I have to complete a story for Technology Spectator by 1000 AEDT before wrapping up Patch Monday. And then I catch the train to Sydney.

I’m then staying in Sydney overnight so I can be at Microsoft’s Tuesday morning breakfast briefing on Windows Phone 8, and after that the rest of the week is as yet unplanned. Chaos is my friend. Stand by.

[Photo: Freelancing, a picture of my working environment on Thursday. That’s the Steyne Hotel overlooking the beach at Manly in Sydney.]