The 9pm Malcolmgasm

Malcolm Turnbull announced his cabinet

The air is filled with a swirl of rose petals and gold dust. The nation’s rivers and streams run with champagne. Malcolm Turnbull is Prime Minister of Australia.

Broadcaster Alan Jones rejects the process of choosing the PM for one of his own devising. And we hear one of Jones’ talkback callers explaining the real reason we should be worried about Turnbull.

In this podcast, there’s also talk of agility, estimations, Greek food, Pink Floyd, quinoa, wigs, and intense happiness.

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The 9pm Sleepless in Canberra

Screenshot from Tony Abbott press conference, 8 February 2015

Yes, this episode of The 9pm Edict is hitting the internets just one week after the previous one. Crusader Rabbit explains in detail why he should stay on as Prime Minister. Everything seems to be a bit chaotic, and Malcolm Turnbull seems to know why. Ah, such joy!

In this podcast there’s talk of music, chaos, character and the Liberal Party’s problem with women, as well as sex with animals, and philosophy.

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The 9pm Team Australia

Senator George Brandis on Sky News: click for full video

Prime Minister Tony Abbott rallies the troops. Attorney-General George Brandis explains how the internet works. And Employment Minister Eric Abetz provides scientific and moral guidance.

In this episode of The 9pm Edict you’ll hear how Australia’s favourite Attorney-General, Senator George Brandis QC, turned a routine TV interview into a train wreck, leading to me calling him incompetent; Brandis’ wig-based adventure; and much more.

We award elephant stamps for special thinking to NSW treasurer Andrew Constance, US congressman Curt Clawson, and the Republican Party generally.

And we discuss Victoria’s proposed laws, Nazis, Godwin’s Law, and my blog post from 2007, Stay alert, ye nameless, toiling animals.

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Fine posts for 2013, such that they are

As in previous years, the list of most popular posts for 2013 was disappointing, so I’ve hand-curated this list of seven stories for you to consider instead.

As usual, this does not include the material I wrote elsewhere, for ZDNet Australia, Technology Spectator, CSO Online, Crikey, ABC The Drum and the rest. That’s all listed on my Media Output page, although I’ll probably highlight a few articles of enduring interest some time in the next few days.

  1. See this, folks? It’s a picture of democracy, being my defence of the Daily Telegraph’s right to conduct whatever party-political campaigning they like. Even if you don’t like it, the newspaper does still have freedom of political speech.
  2. Microsoft has banned me from covering TechEd, which I still consider to have been an ill-thought move on their part.
  3. My guest lecture in March to first-year journalism and media studies students at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) on Algorithms and the Filter Bubble, plus the updated versions from August, Take 2A and Take 2B. All three are available as audio files, plus the accompanying slides.
  4. Why people who say “train station” sound stupid, being my first foray into computational linguistics.
  5. My fish are dead: the black dog ate them (an explanation?), being an announcement and discussion about my encounter with severe depression this year — something which still has a significant impact on my life.
  6. Six Pigeons for Jeffrey, being my personal photographic tribute to this fascinating Australian artist.
  7. Hillary’s mangoes, no NSA involved, which is more about the daft reactions to Edward Snowden’s revelations of the NSA’s surveillance operations.

If you’d like to compare this with previous years, try these:

“Corrupted Nerds” covers electronic voting

Cover art for Corrupted Nerds episode 8: click for podcast pageI’ve just posted the first full-length podcast of material recorded on my Melbourne trip, this one being a chat with Dr Vanessa Teague about electronic voting.

Now I’ve always thought that the whole idea of electronic voting is a bit dodgy. You get a little bit of convenience, sure, but you get a whole lot more attack surface for the bad guys to hit — especially if you open up that whole can of worms of internet voting — and you make it almost impossible for anyone but a specialist digital forensics team to confirm that everything was legitimate.

I was willing to have my mind changed, but in fact the opposite happened. I now think more than ever that electronic voting opens up all manner of avenues for attack that would never have been possible before, with little benefit for most people. And it’d cost a squillion.

“There isn’t a secure solution for voting over the internet. There isn’t a good way of authenticating voters, that is, making sure that the person at the other end of the connection is the eligible voter they say they are. There isn’t an easy, usable way of helping voters to make sure that the vote they send is the vote they wanted, even if their PC is infected with malware or administered by somebody who wants to vote differently,” Teague said.

“And although there are some techniques for providing evidence that encrypted votes have been properly decrypted and tallied, it’s hard to scale those techniques to large Australian elections.”

As I said in September, give me my trusty pencil of democracy.

This was also my first podcast with a specific commercial sponsor.

Corrupted Nerds is available via iTunes and now SoundCloud.

Weekly Wrap 171: Writing to a realistic schedule

Screenshot of email, reading: "Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers."“They say, it’s all in content. I say, it’s all in the pitch,” said the PR operative — who shall remain nameless — who sent me the email you may see in the screenshot.

“Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers,” was all they needed to add to the generic invitation to grab my attention — though in my defence, the invitation was to an event that was well within my realms of interest, and I probably would’ve gone anyway.

I’m more than happy to attend relevant events even when there aren’t drinks. I also go to events that I’m not necessarily personally interested in, but which I know I’ll be able to turn into saleable media objects.

But it was that little personal touch that caused me to spend that extra moment to read the whole thing and agree, yes, this was something I wanted to go to.

That personal touch wasn’t really about a shared like of alcohol, though the unnamed PR operative and I agree that when we meet for drinks we’re just two people sharing a drink and confidences stay confidential.

It’s more that they knew my work, and knew that I’d get value out of this event — and because they do this sparingly, it stands out from the dozens and dozens of of PR emails I receive every day.

So here’s my week Monday 9 to Sunday 15 September 2013. I may or may not explain why this post is so late tomorrow.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

We’re already well into it, obviously. But to catch up quickly, the Tokyo trip was scratched and instead I’m now in Sydney Wednesday through Friday. On Wednesday I’ve got errands, a lunchtime briefing by IBM and then a meeting over at Randwick, and the rest is still being mapped out.

I’ll pick up the Twitter feed tomorrow.