Weekly Wrap 294: Unlocking a great many compartments

Torpedo tube hatch controls on USS PampanitoYou may have noticed that I wrote nothing about my week of Monday 11 to Sunday 17 January 2016. That shall continue to be the case for some time. That was a terrible week. But this week, Monday 18 to Sunday 24 January 2016, has been much better. So far. And about that…

The key word, ladies and gentlemen, is “compartmentalisation”. And you’re in the wrong compartment. Move on. There’s nothing to see here.

Some of you will be wondering why I haven’t been paying attention to Twitter for a couple of weeks. Well, I’m busy dealing with a great many things, and it’s a lot to process. I don’t need the additional cognitive load of Twitter just now — neither the processing of a fast-moving information stream, nor the performance aspects.

Twitter will probably be added back into the mix a few days from now, once certain things have been dealt with.

Articles

Podcasts

None, but see below.

Media Appearances

None.

5at5

None. But should 5at5 ever reappear, you’ll know about it if you subscribe.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

On Monday morning, I’ll spend a couple of hours on my tax accounting, the first of many such sessions in the coming weeks I’ve got a production meeting at 1000, and then I’ll be writing for ZDNet. In the afternoon, I’ll make the long commute down to Sydney and back, because errands. En route, I’ll update various client projects.

Tuesday is Australia Day. But despite the public holiday, I plan to spend the afternoon on pre-production for the next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

On Wednesday, I’ll spend a couple of hours on my tax accounting, the first of many such sessions in the coming weeks, and then write for ZDNet.

The 9pm Edict will be recorded on Thursday night 28 January, streamed live through Spreaker from 2100 AEDT.

On Thursday, I’ll finally finish a column for ZDNet, and then spend a couple of hours on my tax accounting, the first of many such sessions in the coming weeks. After that, I’ll sort out some loose ends on my geek-for-hire projects. Well, it might not be in precisely that order.

On Friday, I’ll head down to Sydney again, for a meeting with my accountant, and to record a Corrupted Nerds podcast with Leslie Nassar, and perhaps some social activities.

The weekend is as yet unplanned.

On Saturday, I’ll be dealing with whatever critical loose ends remain from the working week.

The 9pm Edict will be recorded on Sunday night 31 January, streamed live through Spreaker from 2100 AEDT.

Further Ahead

On 10 to 12 February, I’ll be in Melbourne for the Pause Fest. I’m on a panel on Thursday 11 titled “The security paradox: individual privacy vs digital driftnets”. I’ll be staying in Melbourne until Saturday afternoon. If you’d like to catch up, let me know.

Update 25 January 2016: Edited to reflect schedule changes. Update 27 January 2016: Edited to reflect further schedule changes. Update 28 January 2016: Edited yet again to reflect even more schedule changes.

[Photo: The controls which operate the external torpedo tube hatches in the forward torpedo room of USS Pampanito, San Francisco, photographed on 10 December 2010.]

Weekly Wrap 292: Perhaps not as ready as I’d like

Ducks on the Parramatta River: click to embiggenMonday 4 to Sunday 10 January 2016 was a reminder that the world, and especially the humans that infect it, move to their own natural cycles and patterns. It’s easier to move in rhythm with these than try to work against them, for better or for worse.

Australia shuts down between Christmas and New Year, yes. But despite the claims that we now live in a 24/7 ever-on ever-connected cycle, the reality is that much of Australia still operates to its traditional annual cycle. Shut down just before Christmas, operate in summer holiday mode through to Australia Day on 26 January.

You just have to face the fact that nothing substantial can get done in the first week of January, and that you’ll have trouble getting up to speed on any substantial projects right through to the end of the month.

Individual humans have their own patterns and habits as well, and it’s also tough to change them. You can’t teach a duck to dance, they say. But when the duck is smarter and more stubborn than you are, what hope can there be?

So it with those observations that I introduce this week’s humble list of achievements, and note a few of the necessary changes to The Plan.

Articles

Podcasts

None.

Media Appearances

None.

5at5

None. But should 5at5 eventually reappear, you’ll know about it if you subscribe.

Corporate Largesse

None. The year has not yet started.

The Week Ahead

It’s another week at Wentworth Falls, and broadly speaking it’ll be much the same as its predecessor — but with achievements rather than distractions. He says boldly.

What’s definite is that the next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast will be recorded on Thursday night 14 January, streamed live through Spreaker from 2100 AEDT.

I’ll also be making a day trip to Sydney for a medical appointment at some point. I won’t know when that will be until Monday. That’ll be on Wednesday. I’ll have plenty of free time during the day, so if we need to catch up then let me know.

Apart from that, I’ll continue to work on designing a website and a matching email template for a client; writing that episode of The 9pm Edict; updating some of the stuff I use to explain what it is that I actually do; typing up the loose ends from my crowdfunding projects; thinking about my future accommodation needs; and bringing my bookkeeping up to date so I can file five years of outstanding tax returns.

Further Ahead

On 10 to 12 February, I’ll be in Melbourne for the Pause Fest. I’m on a panel on Thursday 11 titled “The security paradox: individual privacy vs digital driftnets”. I’ll be staying in Melbourne until Saturday. If you’d like to catch up, let me know.

I’ve dumped plans to go to Geelong to cover Linux.conf.au in the first week of February. Sorry, but I need to keep that week flexible and close to Sydney for personal reasons.

For the same reason, my bold intention to record The 9pm Edict’s Public House Forum on Saturday 23 January is also dumped. I need a clearer plan for what I’m actually doing with my various podcasts. They can’t just be an indulgent drain on my time, and despite the inexplicable generosity of those who’ve been supporting me, the numbers don’t quite add up yet. Stand by for more thoughts about that in the not-too-distant future.

Some things that remain on The Plan include Tech Leaders in Leura on 13-14 March; the Australian Cyber Security Centre Conference in Canberra on 12-14 April; NetSuite’s SuiteWorld in San Jose on 16-19 May; the AusCERT Conference on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May; the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney on 22-23 August; and the AISA National Conference in Sydney on 18-20 October.

What else should I add to that list?

Apart from anything else, the first thing I notice about it is that nearly everything is in Australia. Have my horizons contracted?

Update 11 January 2016: Edited to reflect minor schedule changes.

[Photo: Ducks on the Parramatta River, photographed on 15 September 2012. I spent quite a lot of time watching these ducks on the banks for Sydney’s Parramatta river that spring afternoon before they’d finally had enough of me, formed convoy, and departed.]

Weekly Wrap 290: A cash-based Christmas

Sydney Harbour BridgeMy week of Monday 21 Sunday 27 December 2015 started badly. At 0823 I received an SMS message from my bank, asking about a suspect transaction. Within minutes, the card number was cancelled, and a new card organised — but not before hundreds of dollars had been siphoned out in a series of transactions to PlayStation Network GBR.

What impressed me was the speed at which Westpac detected and dealt with this. The total elapsed time, from receiving the SMS, to identifying the dodgy transactions, to organising a replacement card and so on, was just 25 minutes. This is why stolen credit card details are now worth so little on the black market.

What didn’t impress me was the inability of the broader logistics chain to solve the immediate problem of giving me access to my money. The bank cites seven to ten working days to deliver a new card. So not before Christmas.

The bank can arrange cardless cash withdrawals from ATMs, sending single-use authorisation codes via the smartphone app, but for some reason that can’t be done with the specific kind of account I have. Sorry, but I wasn’t about to rush into signing up for a new bank account.

So I withdrew a bunch of cash from a bank branch, and then rearranged an “everything in cash” week. A little less productive, a little more walk-aroundey. Overall, a low-impact cybercrime, but still a pain in the arse.

Articles

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Edict’s Public House Forum #2”, being The 9pm Edict episode 54, was recorded last Saturday and posted on Wednesday night. It’s also on SoundCloud and Spreaker.

Media Appearances

None.

5at5

Should 5at5 eventually reappear, you’ll know about it if you subscribe.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday, I went to Huawei’s end of year drinks for the media at ECQ Bar, Circular Quay. We were all given a Huawei P8lite smartphone and a $30 Telstra pre-paid SIM.

The Week Ahead

For most Australians, the week between Christmas and New Year is a holiday. But not for me. Despite many services only operating Tuesday through Thursday this week, if they’re running at all, I still have quite a lot to get done. Whether it can all happen is another question.

On Monday, I’ll bring all my geekery-for-money projects up to date, and schedule the next few weeks in more detail. Laundry shall also be done.

On Tuesday, I’ll bump out of the Ashfield residence where I’ve been cat-sitting, and run some errands to Enmore, Newtown, and perhaps elsewhere, and then start scripting the next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

Whether Tuesday evening sees me settle into Lilyfield, or whether I return to Wentworth Falls that afternoon, will only be decided on Monday. This post will be updated accordingly on Monday evening.

On Wednesday, I’ll write for ZDNet, I think, and finish the pre-production for The 9pm Edict. The podcast will be recorded and streamed live at 2100 AEDT.

On Thursday, I’ll do a bunch of bookkeeping, and prepare my budgets for January, before doing something that can best be described as celebrating New Year’s Eve. Details TBA.

Friday is New Year’s Day, and I’ll do something significant to mark the start of 2016. Friday will also kick off a long weekend that includes, amongst other things, lunch in Katoomba on Saturday.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour Bridge, photographed from Circular Quay on 22 December 2015.]

Weekly Wrap 280: Hacking, Melbourne, productivity returns

Lumpy Weather: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 12 to Sunday 18 October 2015 was a marked return to productivity — despite a severe lack of sleep along the way.

Apart from generating three quite adequate articles, and recording plenty of audio for future projects, I also made some excellent contacts at the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) National Conference and elsewhere, and certain geekery went pretty much to plan.

I was especially pleased that the Pozible campaign Send Stilgherrian To Ruxcon 2015 was fully funded. I’ll have more to say about that on Monday.

Articles

I also recorded an interview with Joe Franzi, Assistant Secretary Cyber Security with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Australia’s equivalent to the US National Security Agency (NSA). It’s the first recorded interview he’s ever done in that role, and it’ll turn into an article for ZDNet on Monday. The full audio will appear in due course. Stand by.

Podcasts

None, but a new episode of The 9pm Edict will appear on Tuesday.

I’ve also been commissioned to produce an episode of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, which will appear in late November.

Media Appearances

  • On Friday, I was interviewed for a story looking at the future of technology for ABC Online, which will appear some time in the coming week.

5at5

There’s still nothing from 5at5, and that continues to be terrible. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones when they eventually appear?

Corporate Largesse

  • The AISA conference obviously included plenty of free food and drink.
  • My travel and accommodation for that Melbourne trip was covered by Tanium.
  • Michael McKinnon, social media and security awareness director with AVG Technologies AU Pty Ltd, was generous with the hospitality too.

The Week Ahead

It’s another busy week ahead. On Monday, I’m dealing with administrative loose ends, and at 1600 AEDT being a guest for the recording of Mark Pesce’s podcast TWISTA – This Week in Startups Australia, before finally returning to the Blue Mountains some time on Tuesday.

On Tuesday Wednesday, I’m doing the shopping in Katoomba, and wrapping up starting on another episode of The 9pm Edict. But mostly, it’ll be spent writing for ZDNet.

Wednesday is a day off.

On Thursday, I’m writing for ZDNet, before heading into Sydney for the evening. Once there, I’ll complete the podcast, I’ll waste much of the day tying up idioti lcoose ends.

Friday starts extremely early, waking at 0230 to pack and catch the 0358 train to Sydney in time for my 0715 AEDT flight to Melbourne. The rest of the day will be spent catching up with various people, and doing some location scouting in a stupor of tiredness, before some sort of drinks and dinner thing with a few people.

Saturday and Sunday will be spent covering Ruxcon, another of Australia’s key information security conferences. This will include recording material for Corrupted Nerds as well as Future Tense.

Further Ahead

On Monday and Tuesday 26-27 October, I’ll still be in Melbourne doing various things. That includes a Monday night radio spot on ABC 774 Melbourne at 1930 AEDT.

Update 19 October 2015: Edited to reflect a change of plans. Update 20 October 2015: Edited to reflect further change to the plan. Update 25 October 2015: Edited once more to reflect continuing change.

[Photo: Lumpy Weather, photographed from seat 29A of VA830 on 13 October 2015.]