Talking Microsoft Surface and Fairfax on ABC Local Radio

I spoke about two things on ABC Local Radio earlier this week: Microsoft’s Surface tablet-cum-laptop and the staff cutbacks at the Fairfax media group.

I’d covered Surface in this week’s Patch Monday podcast, so my comments on air with Dom Knight reflected the feedback I’d received.

And the comments I made about the Fairfax cuts was based heavily on what I wrote four years ago, “Trouble at t’paper”.

The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it isn’t being archived anywhere else.

Talking about the “Dark Web” on ABC News 24

This morning I was interviewed by ABC News 24 about the “Dark Web”, a term Fairfax news outlets used earlier this week in a story headlined The new underbelly. Since I was at the event in Sydney that triggered the writing of that story, I was happy to tone down some of the hype-scare.

By the “Dark Web” they meant things like Silk Road, a marketplace for all manner of illegality, and the Tor anonymity network that allows Silk Road to hide… somewhere.

I’ll update this post later today to include links to the other things I discussed with presenter Andrew Geoghegan.

If the embedded video doesn’t work for you, you can watch it over on YouTube.

This is a rough copy of the video for now. I’ll upload a better version as soon as it becomes available, though that’ll still have me staring mindlessly into the distance as I’m being introduced. Sigh. The footage is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking the death of passwords on ABC 105.7 Darwin

A story in the Fairfax outlets yesterday about work on cognitive fingerprinting for user authentication led to this conversation with Kate O’Toole on ABC 105.7 Darwin this morning.

I managed to include a mention of the voice biometric work by Australian company Auraya that’s based on technology used by Centrelink, and the concept of two-factor authentication.

The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, but since they don’t usually post it online here it is.

Separated at birth: Bob Katter and Ben Grubb?

So this image was sent to me in a very roundabout way, and I seem to have drawn the virtual short straw and ended up publishing it.

Could it be that Ben Grubb, deputy technology editor at Fairfax news sites,, etc, is the secret love child of independent Member for Kennedy, Cloncurry’s own Bob Katter?

If you have a theory about what the connection might be, do tell me in the comments. People do need to know.

And no, I am not going to reveal who sent me the image.

If you find it to be particularly disturbing, do let me know and I’ll suggest some remedies.

Talking cyber threats on ABC NewsRadio

The Australian Federal Police were talking up the risk of “cyber threats” in the Fairfax news yesterday morning, so I ended up talking about it on ABC NewsRadio.

Now the AFP was bouncing off a report from McAfee, which from the title I assume is yet another of those “The internet is dangerous, m’kay?” fear pieces. 2012 Threats Predictions. I won’t bother linking, because all these reports from the major infosec vendors are much the same, jumbling together everything from minor vandalism to “cyberterrorism” — whatever the fuck that is — with little critical analysis.

But I suppose it is actually getting this stuff onto the agenda.


For six minutes.

At this point I reckon I should re-link to two of my pieces from the eCrime Symposium held in Canberra in November 2011. eCrime Symposium: Harden up, warns Aussie crime fighter and eCrime Symposium wrap: Satisfaction tinged with frustration.

The presenter was Cathy Bell (who seems to be missing from the station’s page of presenters), the producer Jared Reed.

The audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. While the audio was posted shortly after broadcast at the ABC NewsRadio website, I’m going to post it here anyway. It’s easier for me than trawling their automated daily audio archive.

This is being posted a full day after the actual radio appearance, even though the post was ready within an hour of the broadcast. Why? Because I didn’t want it on the website before I’d posted last week’s Weekly Wrap. Is that good editorial judgement? Or just a little bit too anally-retentive?

A Twitter-related Sydney Morning Herald debut

Today I returned to the print media with an opinion piece, Trends on Twitter brief but telling, just like in the real world, in the Sydney Morning Herald.

It’s an overview of Twitter’s “Trending Topics”, including the observation that marketers who try to game the trends are probably wasting their time. Research by Hewlett-Packard’s social computing lab [PDF] shows that there’s probably no point in focusing on the “influencers”.

Topics will trend or not based on whether people found it interesting to retweet at that moment. Just like Yahoo! Research’s Duncan Watts said a few years back.

Somehow I managed to refer to the fisting incident without using the word “fisting” itself.

I wouldn’t have thought about writing this piece myself, being too immersed in Twitter to realise that it needed explanations. Blame Joel Gibson, the SMH Opinion Editor. He commissioned it and did a decent job of improving my Sunday-written words.

I think it’s quite sweet that Fairfax decided to explain my name.