Weekly Wrap 395: The three phases of pre-Christmas

This Weekly Wrap covers three weeks, from Monday 4 to Sunday 24 December 2017, a varied period.

My work involved, in order, finishing the second instalment of DirectorTech, writing for ZDNet, producing two podcasts, and winding down for the holiday season. Plus laziness about these posts.



I also did quite a bit of work on the second instalment of DirectorTech, though just editing and production this time, no original writing from me.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Friday 15 December I went to Watterson PR’s Christmas Party at The Deck, Luna Park. To say that there was plenty of food and drink would be an understatement.

Media Appearances

The Week Ahead

Monday is Christmas Day, which I’ll be celebrating in the company of a kitten in Ashfield. I’ve got a few errands to do on the following days, but this year I’m taking it easy through until the New Year. And that’s as far ahead as I’m looking. Happy Holidays.

[Photo: Cockatoo Swoop. A sulphur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) swoops down to investigate my shopping trolley behind the Coles supermarket in Katoomba on 19 December 2017.]

Weekly Wrap 307: Cockatoos and cybers, more or less

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos at Wentworth Falls: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 18 to Sunday 24 April 2016 went pretty much to plan, with productivity when it was needed, and some relaxation when that was needed.




Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, I went to a lunchtime briefing by Nuix, and they provided food and drink.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be spending another whole week in Sydney, staying at my usual SEKRIT cave in Lilyfield.

[Update 26 April 2016: I’ve had to rearrange my week, because my decision to eat all the leftovers on Monday was a poor choice, and because I didn’t allow quite enough time for moving my data to the loaner MacBook Pro. Update 27 April 2016: More schedule changes. This is not a low-entropy week.]

Monday is Anzac Day, but instead of enjoying the public holiday, I’ll be catching up on some geek-for-hire work, and finishing the script for an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast. I’ll also be collecting a loaner MacBook Pro, for use while mine goes in for repair some time in the following days, and loading it with data.

On Tuesday, I’ll be writing for Crikey, getting a briefing from Verizon on their new Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR), probably writing for ZDNet, and recording that podcast catching up on some geek-for-hire work, finishing the script for an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, and at 1900 AEST doing a radio spot for ABC 774 Melbourne.

On Wednesday and Thursday, I’ll be going to some of the Amazon Web Services Summit Sydney. On Wednesday evening, I’ll be recording that podcast.

On Wednesday, I’m posting the audio from Tuesday night, working on the much-delayed geek-for-hire projects, and proposing some topics for Thursday night’s videos. I’ll also be battling considerable nausea. The geek-for-hire work continues on Thursday morning.

On Thursday afternoon I’m dealing with the computer repairs repairs (if I haven’t already done so), then in the evening recording some videos for ZDNet.

On Friday, I’ll finally be recording that podcast.

Somewhere in there I’m doing some writing for ZDNet.

Further Ahead

On 3 May, I’m covering the inaugural National Fintech Cyber Security Summit in Sydney. Then on 24-27 May, I’m covering the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference on the Gold Coast.

[Photo: Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos at Wentworth Falls. Wentworth Falls is home to a clan of sulphur-crested cockatoos numbering about 50. I managed to capture some of them in flight while waiting for a train on 20 April 2016.]

Weekly Wrap 201: Heartbleed into my wallet, with cockatoo

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 7 to Sunday 13 April 2014 was astoundingly busy and productive. Yes, Heartbleed is to blame. But so is completely ignoring medical advice — which is something I’ll write about next week.

While there’s a lot on my mind that I want to tell you about, I’ve been churning out so many blog posts today, and so many articles about Heartbleed in recent days, and drinking so much wine relaxing across the weekend, that I can’t be arsed saying anything more.

So here’s the list.


Every single thing that I wrote this week was about the Heartbleed security bug.

Media Appearances


I managed to pump out another five this week, although one of them was on the weekend. Why don’t you subscribe to 5at5, and then I don’t need to keep telling you about it.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, some of the people at UTS bought me coffees and lunch. Does that count as largesse?

The Week Ahead

I have no idea. The only things that have been locked in are being in Sydney on Thursday morning so I can be a panellist on this week’s Download This Show for ABC Radio National, which is being recorded at 1100, and of course it’s Good Friday and then the Easter weekend, so in theory I shouldn’t be working.

The reality, however, is that Easter is a shitty time for freelancers, because public holidays mean a serious drop in revenue — and I’m already rather stressed about March having been a quieter month than planned.

But I’ll figure it out, just not tonight.

Oh, and there’s a lunar eclipse on Tuesday.

[Photo: Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo, photographed at dusk near Wentworth Falls on 8 April 2014.]

Winter Solstice Meditation 2009

Photograph of poplar trees at Newington College, Stanmore, Sydney, through the morning mist

Once more around the cycle. As I did last year, and almost every year, I paused a moment yesterday to mark the Winter Solstice. It is the same, but different. Once more around the cycle…

Rather than a fragile tealight flame, this year I have a robust church candle. Another cold, damp day, but the Solstice is at 3.45pm instead of 9.59am. This time it’s actually raining. A gentle raindrop pattering just manages to drown out the distant noises of city traffic.

Sitting in almost the same spot as a year before — not exactly the same, because the ground is wet and foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds — my awareness is heightened about what’s changed, what’s the same.

Last year, we’d only just emerged from a long drought. This year, everything is greener, more healthy. The poinsettia is still in flower, a bright, deep red, rather than dying petals on the ground. This year, the heavy jets are taking off, not landing. Just as bright, just a shiny, just as loud, but taking off for — literally — new horizons. New possibilities.

As of course am I, and soon.

After another year in the same home, I’ve gotten to know the daily sounds and rhythms. Without turning, I know the roar behind me is not merely a heavy jet taking off, but specifically a Boeing 747. The engines have a distinctive higher-pitched whine mixed with their roar.

And they’re the loudest thing in the sky. Usually.

Some 300 metres away, a rainbow lorikeet darts and skims home. Even though it’s just visible as a silhouette in the distance, and silent, I know it’s a lorikeet from the way its wings move in flight. Similarly, a sulphur-crested cockatoo gliding through the mist to land on the nearby school sportsground is distinguishable from its close cousin the corella, simply by its gestures in flight.

A child’s balloon — electric blue and oh so shiny and bright! — appears from nowhere and scuds over the house just as another 747 — white and oh so shiny and bright! — roars overhead, just as the rain eases off. I’ve always loved watching these heavy craft taking off into the west, especially at dusk. Even in the 21st Century there’s still a sense of wonder about starting a new journey, is there not?

Just as this particular jet banks and turns to choose its outbound path, seemingly at random but in fact chosen according to a pattern which shares the noise of takeoffs amongst everyone living below the flightpath, a bright patch appears in the sky. A little break opens up in the otherwise even grey cloud bank precisely between me and the Sun. And the 747 chooses to break through the clouds precisely in that very spot — spearing the emerging possibilities as accurately as a hunter’s spear.

I check the time.

It is precisely 3.45pm.

Precisely the Solstice.

And then the rain starts again. The break in the cloud closes gently. Another lorikeet, much closer, squawks. Just once. And he’s gone.

Another time around the cycle…