Weekly Wrap 317: Does the Solstice herald a good new year?

Sydney Harbour at sunset: click to embiggenMy week Monday 20 to Sunday 26 June 2016 saw me emerging from the mysterious illness, and starting to get back into work. Still, I made good progress on most work fronts, even if there’s nothing much to report

Podcasts

This is the final episode of what I’ve called “series 4” of the Edict. There’s a new series and a new schedule from 1 July. I haven’t announced that yet, however, except to say that there’ll be one episode during July. Stay tuned for details.

Media Appearances

Articles and Corporate Largesse

None. For obvious reasons.

The Week Ahead

I’m spending this week in Ashfield, in Sydney’s inner west, but Monday will be a day of travel: errands to Enmore and Lilyfield, then the long commute up to Wentworth Falls and back. Why? To collect some documents I need for my neverending tax compliance catch-up.

Tuesday will see me working with those documents.

On Wednesday, there’s a lunchtime briefing by VMware in the SydneyCBD, after which I’ve got a meeting related to a SEKRIT media project.

On Thursday I’m recording an interview in the morning, then heading to the Sydney CBD to get a haircut, pre-vote for Saturday’s federal election, and get a democracy sausage.

Friday will be a mix of research, writing, and more tax compliance work, depending on my mood at the time.

There’s also geek work scattered through the whole week, but I won’t go into the details here.

Saturday is federal election day in Australia. While I’m not sure what I’ll be doing during the day, the evening will doubtless be spent watching to election specials on TV. It’ll be a close result, by all accounts, so I’m really looking forward to it.

Further Ahead

While the following few weeks are still be be organised, I can say that I’ll be going to theGartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney on 22-23 August, and the AISA National Conference in Sydney on 18-20 October.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour at sunset, photographed on 22 June 2016 while crossing the Sydney Harbour Bridge.]

Talking John Brennan’s email breach on ABC’s PM

ABC logoOne of the more amusing information security stories last week was the news that CIA director John Brennan’s personal email account at AOL had been taken over by a couple of young hackers.

I ended up providing a few comments on ABC Radio’s PM on Thursday.

It’s a situation that would be deeply embarrassing for any CEO but for the director of the CIA to have his private email account accessed by hackers is beyond humiliating. Leaked emails appear to discuss the use of torture and to contain extensive details of the CIA chief’s private life. The CIA has condemned the hack as a crime, saying the hacked email was a family account. PM has obtained an interview with two people who claim to be the hackers. Sarah Dingle reports.

Here’s the entire 4-minute radio story.

Play

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and is being served directly from the program website, where there’s also a transcript.

Announcing 5at5, my new daily email letter

Screenshot of 5at5 website: click to go thereI come across a lot of fascinating stuff in the course of my alleged media work. It’s stuff worth sharing more widely. Back in December, I decided that I’d start sending out a daily email linking to the best. That email launches tomorrow, Monday 3 February.

It’s called 5at5, and it’ll bring you five items every weekday at around 5pm Sydney time.

They’ll be connected to [my] interests in some way — the politics of the internet and how technology is changing power relationships at every level of society, security and surveillance, military technology and history, language, journalism and human nature. And more.

I was amused to see Alexis Madrigal, technology editor at The Atlantic, launch his own daily email recently, 5 Intriguing Things. Five is the magic number, it seems.

I’ve chosen to use the same platform at Madrigal, TinyLetter, which is a subsidiary of email marketing platform MailChimp. Why? Mostly because it’s free. TinyLetter is limited to 3000 subscribers, but I’ll worry about that when it happens.

So now you’re going to click through to subscribe, right? Good puppy. Smart puppy.

Weekly Wrap 130: Storms, sunburn and a two-hour cruise

The week of Monday 26 November to Sunday 2 December 2012 was strange. It started with stormy weather, and the misty conditions continued until Wednesday. But by Thursday I was sunburnt and dehydrated in sweltering heat.

I should not have walked through the heat from Potts Point to the Sydney CBD, even though I could take a photograph of the city along the way.

It was also a stressful week. To the usual month-end cashflow blockage was added a series of strange problems with a client’s marketing email template.

The client had chosen to use an old template, and the line spacing fell apart in modern versions of Microsoft Outlook. Then some of the links to PDF files on their website didn’t work, with the links being somehow scrambled so they delivered a “404 File not found” error instead of the PDF file. Sometimes.

Eventually we discovered that the links broke — sometimes — when URLs containing white-space characters (such as “%20” for a space) were passed from Outlook to an out-of-date version of Adobe Reader.

Thankfully the week ended with some semblance of normality, and the weekend was restful.

Podcasts

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Sunday morning I was asked, at the last minute, to be the bespoke Twitterer for ABC Radio National’s Sunday Extra. That just means that I had to listen to the program — which I was doing anyway — and tweet about it.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I attended the Retail Tech Forum at Wildfire Restaurant, Circular Quay, which was organised by Bass PR for various clients: Dassault Systèmes, who do many things but in this case provide 3D modelling and visualisation tools for retail environments; retail software systems vendor Island Pacific Australia; 3Q Holdings, who also do retail tech; Meridian Systems, who make “technology solutions” for the project management of “capital buildings” and the maintenance thereof; and analysts Frost & Sullivan. I daresay an article will come out of this at some point. Meanwhile, here’s the lunch menu and pictures of the beef short rib starter and the corn-fed chicken main course.
  • On Thursday I had lunch at Establishment with the people behind Uber Sydney, a smartphone-based service that provides on-demand ordering of a black town car. An article will come out of this eventually.
  • On Thursday afternoon I went on a two-hour cruise of Sydney Harbour aboard Matilda III, which was the Internet Industry Association’s Harbour Policy Party. The photographs start here.
  • On Thursday evening I dropped into The Indies’ Christmas party at the Burdekin Hotel on Oxford Street, The Indies being the four PR firms Bass PR, Shuna Boyd PR (which doesn’t seem to have a website?), Einsteinz Communications and Espresso Communications. I had just one glass of wine, my only alcohol for the entire day, before exhaustion set in.

The Week Ahead

Starting this week I’ll be based in Hurstville, a southern suburb of Sydney, thanks to a housesitting arrangement with someone who shall remain anonymous. I’ll be there until the end of the first week of January. Unless plans change.

This week is another busy week. I daresay I won’t get around to producing the Patch Monday podcast until Monday morning. I’ve got some writing to do too. Then on Tuesday, Optus is showcasing their 4G smartphones at a lunch in Surry Hills. On Wednesday I’m attending VMware’s Cloud Panel, a lunchtime event at The Star casino.

I’ll try to record next week’s Patch Monday podcast on Thursday, because on Thursday night I’m going to Fuel Communications‘ Christmas party and then on Friday I’m covering a one-day conference Privacy in the 21st Century (PDF), organised by the Communications Law Centre at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). Since I’m covering that conference for both Crikey and ZDNet, it’ll be sensible to get that podcast out of the way.

[Photo: The Nepean was crossed. It has been my habit to take a photograph each time I cross the Nepean River en route from Wentworth Falls to Sydney or vice versa, which I then tweet with the caption Crossing the Nepean. Yesterday I missed, and the outbound train was already at Emu Plains before I could take a snapshot.]