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Waratah in bloom at Bunjaree Cottages: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 28 September to Sunday 4 October 2015 was another pain-ridden ocean of chaos, but nevertheless there were a few solid achievements.

I launched Send Stilgherrian to Ruxcon 2015, a Pozible crowdfunding campaign with an obvious aim. As I write this, it’s already reached 29% of its initial target, which is promising.

On the health front, the broken tooth was repaired again. As for my shoulder, the X-rays and ultrasound imagery taken last week showed no permanent damage or signs of specific problems. It’s “just” strained muscles and tendons, and all that’s needed is rest. It does seem to be getting better, albeit very slowly.



I got most of an episode of The 9pm Edict recorded, but was too tired to complete it on Sunday night. Stand by.

Media Appearances

  • On Wednesday, I spoke about Facebook hoaxes on ABC 105.7 Darwin, but I didn’t record it.
  • Also on Wednesday, I spoke about Bitcoin and tractor square dancing on ABC 774 Melbourne and stations around Victoria, but I didn’t record that either.
  • On Thursday, I spoke about my crowdfunding efforts on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.


There were no editions of 5at5 at all, and that’s terrible. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?


Having migrated the final batch of a long-standing client’s websites to new virtualised infrastructure, I finally shut down my remaining hard-iron Linux server, a leased machine somewhere in a rack in San Francisco. Typing halt for the last time also ended my business relationship with ServePath, which later became GoGrid, and which was recently acquired by and absorbed into Datapipe. I’ll miss the excellent support their engineers have provided over the years.

Meanwhile, I’ve picked up a quick little job: building what is in essence a paywall for the website of the literary magazine Meanjin, so they can start selling digital subscriptions.

Corporate Largesse


The Week Ahead

Once more, most of this week is over. It’s already the end of Thursday! But there’s still plenty of things to do…

On Friday, it’s the long train commute to Sydney for a lunchtime briefing on smart cities and the Internet of Things with Alcatel-Lucent’s expert on such things, Marc Jadoul. I’ll knock off some errands while I’m down there, and certain SEKRIT planning on the train.

On the weekend — note that I’m not predicting a specific day for each item — I’ll finish that episode of The 9pm Edict, finish the video of my UTS lecture, do some audio equipment tests, and do the preparatory work for Meanjin.

Further Ahead

The week beginning Monday 12 October will be a hectic one. Monday is the calm before the storm, when I’ll collect my thoughts and prepare myself.

On Tuesday, I fly to Melbourne, sneaking in a quick work session at Meanjin in the afternoon, before a reception kicks off the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) National Conference. I’m covering that for ZDNet, as well as recording material for my own Corrupted Nerds podcast. My thanks got to security vendor Tanium for covering my costs.

On Friday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet before flying back to Sydney. Some time on the weekend, I’ll produce another episode of The 9pm Edict.

The week starting… no, I’ll tell you about that next time.

[Photo: Waratah in bloom at Bunjaree Cottages, photographed on 8 October 2015. This waratah flower is slightly past its peak, but the intensity of its colour still manages to dominate the camera’s sensors.]

The View from Level 16My week of Monday 15 to Sunday 21 June 2015 was yet another reasonably productive one, though the cold weather meant that I spent more time than ever before in the warmth of the Blue Mountains City Library in Katoomba.

This week also saw a significant reduction in my stress levels, for a variety of reasons. I’ll write more about that later in the week.



  • The 9pm Planet of Fascist Delusions, being The 9pm Edict episode 45. I think that podcast production expands to fill the time available for it. This episode soaked up 17 hours, spread over two days.


There were five editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. That’s more than 25 things for you to read! To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

My week will begin with the Winter Solstice — sorry, I’m running late — the week began with the Winter Solstice, which happened at 0238 AEST on Monday morning. I celebrated the Solstice as I often do, by reflecting on many things overnight, so Monday is a bit slow. Household chores, administrivia, some research, and the like. In the evening I’ll plan my writing for ZDNet.

Tuesday to Thursday will be writing days, with a couple of stories for ZDNet, as well as that goddam ebook. Friday will be devoted to certain activities related to the end of the financial year. The weekend will see the production of another episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, interspersed with a modest social life. That episode will be completed and posted on Monday 29 June.

That seems a bit thin. But my ponderings over the Solstice will trigger further actions, trust me. There is much that I want to change in the coming months.

[Photo: The View from Level 16, being the UBS offices on level 16 of Chifley Tower, 2 Chifley Square, Sydney, photographed on 19 June 2015.]

Banksia in shadow: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 22 to Sunday 28 December 2014 was a strange beast, what with the Christmas break and certain excesses dumped smack down into the middle of it. And we’re about to do it all over again.

The stress related to having to wrap up everything in the three days before Christmas was compounded by a certain amount of uncertainty as to whether a certain large media company was certain about being able to pay my November invoice before the holidays began. One thing was certain, though: that would have certainly caused a certain amount of pain.

Fortunately that was all sorted out, and I did have enough money to both to celebrate Christmas, in my own small way, and to pay the bills. But the entire process was mentally exhausting.



An edition of 5at5 was emailed every working day, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. You might want to subscribe so you receive them all. Subscribe. Just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Kaspersky Lab sent a Christmas present in the form of a bottle of Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz. They’re such terrible people.

The Week Ahead

It will be another busy week punctuated by a public holiday.

Monday’s key tasks are to pitch some column ideas to ZDNet Australia, deal with some administrivia that can’t be done on the weekend, write a couple of standard blog posts, and start work on the chosen ZDNet column.

On Tuesday, I’ll finish that column, and then catch the train to Sydney — not just for the regular spot on ABC 720 Perth, but also to bump in to the Chirgwin residence in Lilyfield, where I’ll be taking up residence through until about 25 January. If you’ve been trying to arrange a meeting in Sydney with me, January represented your chance.

On Wednesday, I’ll be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, which simply must be finished and published that day, because it’s New Year’s Eve. That will in turn be followed by New Year’s Day, an event which is bound to be marked by a gap in the official record.

Friday will be a relaxed-pace day of work, pottering around the various tasks that accompany a new year, and reflecting upon the nature of Sin. Then the weekend should provide further opportunities for same. The reflection, I mean, not the sin.

Now overlaid on top of all this may be the much-delayed server migration. That will depend on some details that I won’t be able to confirm until Monday. Stand by. Or sit down with a gin and tonic, whichever you think is more appropriate for summer.

[Photo: Banksia in shadow, photographed at Bunjaree Cottages near Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, 100km west of Sydney, on 22 December 2014. Everywhere around this banksia flower was cast in shadow by a nearby tree — except for the one shaft of sunlight striking the flower itself. Tom Gwynne-Jones and Martin Miles have identified it as a Banksia serrata. If they’re wrong, I daresay some kind person will help us with the correct species soon enough.]

ABC logoThe hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment inspired many of the talking points on today’s “Tech Wreck” segment on ABC 720 Perth.

Did North Korea hack Sony? Or was it hackers-for-hire employed by North Korea? Or was it someone else who hired hackers and paid them to look like they were working for North Korea? At this stage nobody knows. But whoever did the hack, it is not “cyberwar”.

Sony is also trying to take legal action against people publishing links to the stolen material, which is surely going to trigger the Streisand Effect — which I explained.

We spoke about how Sony’s computer networks were shut down, leading to working like it’s an office from ten years ago, but with added paranoia.

And we also spoke about the Pew Research Center report, as described in the Fairfax press, which suggested that living a public life online would be the new default by the year 2025. Privacy will be considered a luxury.

The presenter is Jamie Burnett.


The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Canberra sunrise: click to embiggenMy week Monday 4 to Sunday 10 November 2013 was another busy one, but I survived.

Once more the Weekly Wrap has been hideously delayed, so it’ll just be the facts.

A key part of the week was my trip to Canberra, mainly to cover the speech by Eugene Kaspersky to the National Press Club, but also to squeeze in some meetings with other people while I was there. Kaspersky seems to have dominated my media output for the week.


  • Corrupted Nerds: Conversations 8, being a chat about electronic voting with Dr Vanessa Teague from the University of Melbourne. If you think e-voting is the cure for electoral fraud and mistakes, you’d better listen.


Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday I went to the National Press Cub in Canberra to hear Eugene Kaspersky’s address. I was a guest at the Kaspersky Lab table, and they paid for my flights from Sydney. I paid for my own accommodation because the Kaspersky thing itself could have been a day trip.

[Photo: Canberra sunrise, photographed from Rydges Lakeside Canberra hotel on 7 November 2013.]

Digitally manipulated image of Eugene Kaspersky: click for podcastI’m headed to Canberra this week to hear Eugene Kaspersky, chief executive officer and chairman of Kaspersky Lab, speak at the National Press Club on Thursday 7 November.

It’ll be an interesting event.

When I last spoke with Kaspersky in May — you can listen to that conversation now, because it became the first episode of the Corrupted Nerds: Conversations podcast — it was before Edward Snowden’s revelations began. Before “all of the cybers” changed from being something of interest only to a few specialist technology and national security writers into front page news around the world.

Actually, I’ll embed it here so you don’t even have to click through.

I suspect that the kinds of questions asked by the insular and largely Canberra-bound press gallery journalists will be as revealing of the state of play as the words of the Russian information security star himself — and he knows how to work the media.

Kaspersky is speaking at the NPC at lunchtime on Thursday, immediately after which I’ll be reporting on it for ZDNet Australia. But I’ll be in Canberra from early Wednesday afternoon through until Friday afternoon, so if you want or need to catch up, do let me know.

Disclosure: I am travelling to Canberra as the guest of Kaspersky Lab.

[Photo: Eugene Kaspersky speaking at CeBIT Australia 2012. Original photo by CeBIT Australia, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC-BY) license. Digital manipulation by Stilgherrian.]

Cover art for Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 5: click for podcast web pageAfter a gap that was altogether far too long, a new episode of the Corrupted Nerds podcast has just been posted.

“Networks are living and breathing things. They don’t sit still. Your vulnerabilities will change on a daily basis, for sure, and you need to be on top of that,” says Dick Bussiere, principal architect for Tenable Network Security in the Asia Pacific region.

That’s why Tenable is advocating what they see as a revolution in maintaining a data network’s security posture.

“We’re kind of advocating that people perform vulnerability assessment, and remediation of vulnerabilities, as a constant and continuous process, rather than something that you do on a periodic basis,” Bussiere says.

So that worldview, plus a few comments about advanced persistent threats (APTs), the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA) and the revelations of Edward Snowden, are all part of Corrupted Nerds: Conversations episode 5. Enjoy.

Sydney Harbour from Potts Point: click to embiggenMy week Monday 26 August to Sunday 1 September 2013 was a full one, and I survived.

Part of me wants to write more than that, particularly after last week’s false start, the thoughts generated by my university lectures on Monday, and the idiocy of being banned by Microsoft — and in that account I really should have emphasised more the defamatory nature of that action.

But it’s already well into Sunday evening, I’ve already written my counterpoint to gripes about the Sunday Telegraph, and it’s a busy week ahead (see below). So on with the facts.



None, though I did more background work on Corrupted Nerds, and things will appear in the coming few days.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Also on Monday, I met up with Kim Carter, the PR Manager of the Australian Direct Marketing Association. Oddly enough, they know all about data mining. She paid for the coffee.
  • Also on Monday, I went to the program launch for the Sydney Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas, which is on 2 to 4 November. There was food and drink.
  • On Thursday night, I went to Text100’s (in)famous Christmas in August event, where they previewed their clients’ goodies for the holiday buying season. There was food and much, much drink.

The Week Ahead

It’ll be another busy one. Monday is dedicated to a spring clean of various projects, something I’m looking forward to.

Tuesday is a trip to Sydney for a 1000 interview recording in the CBD, and to cover a lunch event by the Trans-Tasman Business Circle featuring Westpac’s chief information officer Clive Whincup. I’m reporting on the latter for Technology Spectator.

Wednesday is a day of interview recordings, research and writing back up in the Blue Mountains.

On Thursday it’s back to Sydney for more interview recordings and a lunch briefing by AVG Technologies, and I’ll probably stay in Sydney over night because on Friday I have an 0800 interview recording in the CBD — after which it’s all a bit unplanned.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour from Potts Point, taken from a room at the DeVere Hotel on Friday 30 August 2013.]

Winter in Sydney, dreadful: a photograph of Sydney Central station on a bright sunny day: click to embiggenMy week Monday 12 to Sunday 18 August 2013 was quite productive, for a change. As you’ll see below, I produced more media objects this week than in quite a while.

This is as good a time as any to mention that climbing out of the current — or should I say recent — black dog episode is proving remarkably straightforward this time. I think that’s down to a combination of factors. I’ve got a good medical team. I’ve been down that rabbit-hole before, so it’s a familiar landscape and a familiar route home — and indeed that initial blog post was really me starting that process. I’ve had a few professional compliments lately. And the weather has been lovely, which makes a big difference when there’s a seasonal component to one’s moods.


  • Corrupted Nerds: Conversations 4, being a chat with Dr Kerry Hinton from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) about how the internet uses electricity — and how we might well run into a power crisis.

I still haven’t kicked off The 9pm Election podcast. I really do think I was biting off more than I can chew with that little addition to my planned workload.


Media Appearances

  • On Monday, I spoke about geoblocks and how to avoid them, briefly, as part of a package on Channel TEN’s The Project. This was the footage shot two weeks ago.
  • On Tuesday, ITJourno wrote about me, Stilgherrian launches Corrupted Nerds podcast, but you won’t be able to read it unless you’re a member.
  • On Sunday I spoke about future politics on ABC Radio National’s Sunday Extra with host Jonathan Green and John McTernan, formerly Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s head of communications.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday night, I dropped in to a little soirée to launch Malcolm Turnbull’s new website. Beer and sushi was to be had.
  • On Friday night, I popped in to the launch of Dom Knight’s new book, Man vs Child, and there was an open bar for a while. I had one beer. Because I’m responsible.

The Week Ahead

On Monday and Tuesday I’ll be in Sydney to cover the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit for CSO Online and Technology Spectator, each in their own way. That’ll keep me busy with writing through Wednesday.

The rest of the week is full of more writing, for ZDNet Australia and my now-regular guest lecture at UTS at a bare minimum.

Somewhere in there I need to start working on some income-generation for Corrupted Nerds.

The weekend is likely to be a quiet one.

[Photo: Winter in Sydney, dreadful, being a photograph of Sydney Central station taken on 16 August 2013, an exceptionally lovely blue-sky day. As I said last week, spring has come early this year.]

AusCERT 2013 conference banner: click for conference websiteHere’s a list of the news stories I’ve found this morning that have been written about the AusCERT 2013 information security conference.

The theme for this year’s conference was “This time it’s personal”:

[The theme reflects] the growth in attacks and unauthorised disclosures of online personal information. Motivated by illicit financial gain, cyber criminals obtain unauthorised access to personal information, but more and more, we are seeing data disclosures being posted publicly by attackers for political motives, rather than financial gain.

Hence the theme will resonate within the information security community and remind us that the online environment provides opportunities galore to capture personal information; of the impact these breaches can have on the lives of individuals; and the importance of information security to prevent these attacks. AusCERT2013 will explore these issues and bring experts from Australia and around the world to provide insight and solutions to deal with these challenges.

Items are arranged alphabetically by masthead and then chronologically. If I’ve missed anything, please let me know. Indeed, I daresay that some more articles will be published on Monday or Tuesday, so if that happens I’ll update this post appropriately.

There’s a lot here for me to read, so if I’m going to write a reaction piece some time then it’ll be… later.

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