The 9pm End of the World, Probably

Donald Trump before he was President of the United States (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

This is the first episode of this podcast for nearly three months, and what I foretold has come to pass.

“‘President Trump’, get used to saying it,” I first warned you on 5 November 2015, a full year before the US elections.

Told you so.

It’s not really a matter of careful what you wish for, because I wasn’t wishing for this. I just foresaw this new era in human history. I can indeed see through time, and you people really do need to start recognising this simple fact.

Continue reading “The 9pm End of the World, Probably”

Talking Turnbull’s private email on ABC 720 Perth

ABC logoAs the working week came to a close on Friday, news was spreading that Australia’s new PM Malcolm Turnbull has been using a “private” email address for some of his official communications — a situation, it was said, was similar to that of Hillary Clinton when she was US Secretary of State.

It’s not quite the same. Clinton’s people had rolled their own email service, whereas Turnbull had used a commercially-available service — it looks like it was Microsoft’s Outlook.com as resold by NetRegistry. But the concerns were the same. Was it secure? And was it being properly archived as required by law?

Don’t assume government email is more secure than private email, Turnbull said. But the archive question never seemed to get as much traction.

I spoke about some of these issues on ABC 720 Perth with Jamie Burnett.

Play

This audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The 9pm Humanity, with added confusion

The Internet of Trees: click to embiggen

This episode of The 9pm Edict heads into a eucalypt forest in search of the internet, and encounters a dog.

You’ll hear about the National Broadband Network’s fibre-to-the-node trial, Russell Brand, Bertrand Russell, the 20th anniversary of a sarin nerve gas attack in Japan, the 25th birthday of the internet in Australia, the 60th birthday of nuclear power stations, Hillary Clinton and the mangoes, Google co-funder Larry Page’s threat to kill 100,000 people, and the arsehattery of Village Roadshow co-CEO Graham Burke.

And there’s the dog, of course.

And a cat. Sort of.

But don’t forget the dog.

Continue reading “The 9pm Humanity, with added confusion”

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:

Hillary’s mangoes, no NSA involved

[I was in a bit of a mood on Thursday, so when The Guardian broke the news that the NSA has been collecting the phone records of American citizens, my tolerance for political arsehattery was nonexistent. Calls for street protests? Bah! My countermove was to tweet a bunch of nonsense, which is posted here as prose.]

Mangoes by umstwitMaybe if we all run around like headless chooks, Mr Obama will say “Oh, sorry” and disband the NSA. And then Mr Obama will mount his trusty cyberpig and fly to the Moon, leaving behind a chemtrail of glitter and Bitcoins.

But look, headless chooks are the important bit. The more rushing around and screeching you can manage, the sooner the cyberpig lifts off. And quite frankly, Obama’s first term was a big disappointment as far as glitter showers go.

By comparison, I imagine that on weekends Hillary Clinton pumps out a steady stream of glitter. Like a Queen Ant, kinda.

Nyan Cat was DARPA’s prototype for that. DARPA’s main challenge was making it come out as glitter. When Hillary gets steam up, there’s no telling what it’ll be. Hummus, sometimes. Whipped cream.

One day it was just mangoes. Whole mangoes. Three a second, hour after hour. Secret Service guys took the whole weekend to clear the mess.

Then they had to figure out a cover story. Why were there mangoes smeared all the way down Pennsylvania Avenue? Eventually they decided just to tell everyone it was Madeleine Albright’s fault, so the press corps obviously bought that.

There’s a reason trams never took off in Washington.

[Photo: Mangoes by Flickr user umstwit, used under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic license.]