Weekly Wrap 310: Repaired computer, repaired(-ish) human

Malcolm Turnbull announces the federal electionMy week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 May 2016 was essentially a continuation of the previous week, although the illnesses both physical and digital have ended.

Well, the short-term medical conditions anyway. The long-term conditions are both being addressed more or less according to plan. Ish.

I’ll tell you about the key events another time, however. For now, just the essentials.


I’m quite pleased with this episode, and what little feedback I’ve had about the potential future of this podcast suggests that this magazine format is the way to go — although the Public House Forum episodes also seem popular.


Jobs and growth, jobs and growth, jobs and growth. Australia’s federal election has finally been confirmed for Saturday 2 July. We have an eight-week campaign, which means there should be at least two episodes of the Edict.

The mediascape will be filled with the usual commentary and mainstream punditry based on each day’s action. So for my own efforts, in podcasts or elsewhere, I intend to slow down and get outside that bubble.

What will this mean in practice? I don’t know yet. Watch this space.


Media Appearances

  • Mark Newton decided to preserve my rant about Senator James Paterson from Thursday night. I was angry that he’d asked a question in Senate Estimates about the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) spending $50,000 on a custom typeface, the answer to which he could have found by reading any news story on the topic. I’ll have more to say about that another time.
  • On Sunday, I was quoted in an article, My innovation is bigger than your innovation, by Ken Wolff at The Political Sword. It’s an interesting read, in which I play a tiny, tiny part.

Corporate Largesse


The Week Ahead

I’ll be based at Wentworth Falls for most of the week, I believe, and it begins with a day off on Monday.

Remarkably, the rest of the week has no fixed appointments, but I’ve got plenty to do. There’s the usual writing for ZDNet and perhaps Crikey, the geek-for-hire work, and the neverending work to bring my tax affairs up to date. I’ll also have to lock in my podcast and election campaign plans. But I’ll be able to work on these things in the most comfortable order. This pleases me.

The weekend is similarly unplanned. Joy.

Further Ahead

On 24-27 May, I’m covering the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference on the Gold Coast. Apart from my usual conference coverage, once more I’ll be on the panel for the event’s closing Speed Debate.

[Photo: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces the federal election on 8 May 2016. Screenshot from ABC News24.]

Weekly Wrap 309: Broken computer, broken human

Approaching Sydney: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 25 April to Sunday 1 May 2016 was disrupted — not in that silly fashionable way, but in the traditional annoying way — by failing computer hardware and illness.

My MacBook Pro developed a screen fault, so I lost time moving my work to a loaner machine and organising repairs. Somewhere along the way I got what I presumed was food poisoning but which is clearly something else. Both patients are getting better, the silicon more quickly than the flesh.

The many edits to last week’s Weekly Wrap reflect all the plans made and discarded.

As a result…




None. However an episode of The 9pm Edict is part-produced.

Media Appearances

  • On Tuesday, I spoke about all the cybers on ABC 774 Melbourne.
  • On Thursday night, I recorded some short videos on various information security topics for ZDNet, which will dribble out over the coming weeks.

Corporate Largesse


The Week Ahead

I’m back at Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains this week, or at least for most of it.

On Monday, I’m working on geek-for-hire tasks in the morning, and completing that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast in the afternoon and evening.

On Tuesday, I’m making the long commute down to Sydney to cover the inaugural National Fintech Cyber Security Summit. Tuesday night is federal Budget Night in Australia, so I’ll probably stay in Sydney to amuse myself with that rather than spend the evening on the train. Nah, that’s too long a day. I’ll do some bits and pieces in the Blue Mountains instead.

On Wednesday morning, I daresay I’ll be writing something. At midday, it’s my first progress check at the Black Dog Institute, three months into working on the dog of a different colour. I’ll probably have some news. Then I’ll collect my repaired MacBook Pro, and return to the Mountains.

The remainder of the week and the weekend are unplanned, but I know I’ll be writing for ZDNet and doing more geek-for-hire stuff in there somewhere.

Further Ahead

On 24-27 May, I’m covering the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference on the Gold Coast. Apart from my usual conference coverage, once more I’ll be on the panel for the event’s closing Speed Debate.

Update 2 May 2016: Edited to reflect changed plans for Tuesday.

[Photo: Approaching Sydney. A Qantas Boeing 737-800, I believe, on approach to Sydney airport (SYD) over the inner west suburb of Lilyfield on 25 April 2016.]

Debate: Is digital disruption in the best interest of consumers?

Stilgherrian speaks during the ACCAN conference debate“Will the latest wave of digital disruptors liberate consumers from monopolies or shackle them to new ones?” asked the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) in the program notes for the somewhat amusing debate which ended their annual conference back on 2 September.

I was on one of the debate teams. Guess which side.

Well, the affirmative team was Daniel Duggan, head of mobile for Yatango; Brad Kitsche, Uber’s director of public policy for the Oceania region; and Brendan Coady from Maddocks Lawyers.

So yeah, I was the final speaker on the negative team, following David Vaile, executive director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of NSW; and Katina Michael, associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

And we won.

The video over the fold has the entire thing, except for the first few words by our moderator, Delia Rickard, dDeputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

Continue reading “Debate: Is digital disruption in the best interest of consumers?”

Weekly Wrap 249: A snake, a seal and some aeroplanes

The Sydney Harbour Seal: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 9 to Sunday 15 March 2015 wasn’t quite as hectic as last week, but that was deliberate.

I even managed to fit in my planned visit to the Historical Aircraft Restoration Society (HARS) on Saturday — a journey that necessitated four hours of train travel there, and another four hours back. I’ve uploaded a rough cut of the photos I took. The full-resolution images will be uploaded in due course.

I also encountered animals. On Wednesday, I met the Sydney Harbour Seal. That’s it pictured above. And last weekend — on Sunday, but after I’d already posted the Weekly Wrap — I met a young Eastern Brown Snake (Pseudonaja textilis) on the pathway near Wentworth Falls railway station. Here’s a picture.


There’s also a feature story still working its way through the production pipeline at ZDNet Australia.


None. The next episode of The 9pm Edict will be on Tuesday 24 March.


There were five editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You should subscribe, you know.

Media Appearances

None. They seem to come in bursts.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

It’s going to be a busy one, and Monday will be the calm before the storm — a day of communication, planning, and doing the laundry, with a break at 1130 to interview someone via the telephone.

On Tuesday, I’ll be taking the train to Sydney and then flying to Melbourne for the Cisco LIVE event. Tuesday’s agenda includes a tour of Etihad Stadium, which presumably uses plenty of Cisco technology in its operations, followed by cocktails, followed by dinner. Wednesday is a day full of press conferences and keynote presentations and panel discussions, followed by cocktails, followed by dinner. Thursday sees more keynote presentations and panel discussions, plus interviews, but mercifully no more cocktails. I’m not sure what I’m doing on Thursday night, so feel free to offer suggestions. I’ll be flying back on Thursday evening.

I’m staying on in Melbourne for the rest of the week.

On Friday, I’ll be having a few work-related meetings, and will be “available for drinks” in the late afternoon and evening. Details TBA. On Saturday, I’m having lunch and drinks with some old friends. From Saturday evening through to late Sunday afternoon, well, I’m open to suggestions. I’ll be flying back to Sydney on Sunday night, and presumably then returning to Wentworth Falls to collapse.

Update 17 March 2015: It turns out that staying on in Melbourne is beyond this month’s budget. Friday through Sunday is currently unplanned.

[Photo: The Sydney Harbour Seal, photographed on 11 March 2015. I don’t know why this one seal, which has taken to sunning itself on the steps near the Sydney Opera House, has captured so much attention.]

Weekly Wrap 234: Scallops and disruption

Scallops and eel, est restaurant: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 24 to Sunday 30 November 2014 was, quite frankly, irritating — for reasons that I won’t detail here. The end result was that I didn’t get to take part in some of the social and semi-social events that I’d planned to. I am grumpy.



The only edition of the 5at5 email newsletter that I got out the door was Monday. There will be more this week, so why not subscribe so you receive them all?

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

This is the week where freelancers switch from the always-busy November to the stressful process of solving a specific, annual problem: How can I ensure that there’s enough cashflow to survive Christmas, New Year and through to the end of January, when all the usual sources of income are dry? Wish me luck.

(It’s actually quite depressing to see people starting to add Christmas motifs to their Twitter avatars and otherwise talking about “the festive season” when one’s own time is anything but festive. Sigh.)

With that in mind, Monday is a day of administrivia and planning, and Tuesday will be dedicated to production for The 9pm Edict podcast. I think a pre-Christmas subscriber drive will come out of that. That work will continue on the days after that, along with online briefings at 0830 and 1400 on Wednesday, and at 0600 on Thursday. Somewhere in there I’ll also write a column for ZDNet Australia.

On Friday I’ll be heading in to Sydney for a briefing by BAE Systems, and then the (in)famous Watterson PR Christmas lunch Cisco’s end-of-year lunch at Gastro Park. The weekend thereafter is unplanned.

[Update 2 December: Edited to reflect change to Friday’s commitments.]

[Photo: Scallops and smoked eel — or, more completely, grilled scallops, smoked eel, baby leeks, wakame, shiso, yuzu — all being an entrée at est restaurant, Sydney, photographed on 25 November 2014.]

The 9pm Road to War

Screenshot from WCSC Live 5 News: click for original news story

Prime Minister Tony Abbott points to the enemy, and to the difficult road ahead. What road is that? Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gives a clue.

We also determine the three key differences between Philip Ruddock and a mechanical duck.

We award elephant stamps for people who have been exceptional in the category of thinking to the authorities of Summerville, South Carolina, for arresting a 9th-grader for an alleged dinosaur killing (pictured above), and the 20-year-old man arrested at Riverwood on 26 August.

And we introduce a new segment, Ubergasm, exploring the work of our favourite libertarian disruptors. Today we hear about Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft and a tweet from PR columnist Ed Zitron.

Continue reading “The 9pm Road to War”