Weekly Wrap 200: Banksia, rain and a little work

Banksia in the Mist: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 31 March to Sunday 6 April 2014 has definitely seen the beginnings of some sort of return to normality, despite the almost continuous dreary weather.

I won’t go on about that, however because I don’t want to jinx it. I’ll just list the stuff.


Media Appearances


I managed to pump one out every weekday this week, which hasn’t happened in a while. I think it’s about time for you to subscribe, if you haven’t already done so.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I went to a briefing session by HP Enterprise Security Services at the Four Seasons Hotel in Sydney, where a lovely afternoon tea was served — although I’d had a big lunch, so didn’t really taste much of it.

The Week Ahead

On Monday I’m presenting an updated version of my guest lecture at University of Technology Sydney (UTS) at 1000, and that means it’s an early start. I’m catching an 0636 train from Wentworth Falls, arriving at Sydney Central at 0817. I could catch a later train, but I want to grab a bite to eat before meeting the course coordinator for coffee at 0900. Plus I want to allow for the possibility of delays. My Twitter stream should be fun that morning, for some value of fun.

If you want to take me to lunch on Monday, or otherwise catch up, now is the time to stake your claim.

I have another morning gig in Sydney on Tuesday, a meeting at 1045, so it looks like I’ll be spending plenty of time on trains over the next couple of days.

Then on Wednesday it’s an 0845 start in Sydney for the Amazon Web Services Sydney Summit. Ideally I’d stay in Sydney overnight from Tuesday, but the early-month cashflows look like they won’t permit that. Stay tunes for updates, however.

[Update 12 April 2014: Those two trips to Sydney didn’t happen — and it’s a good thing they got cancelled, because once the Heartbleed security bug was announced on Wednesday my time, I was flat out on work related to that, Expect plenty of updates over the next 72 hours.]

The rest of the week and the weekend, including what will be written when, has yet to be mapped out. That will depend very much on what I manage to get done in the next 48 hours.

[Photo: Banksia in the Mist, photographed at Bunjaree Cottages on 4 April 2014.]

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.

Dell’s useless customer “service”

[Update: This problem has since been resolved. Please also read How Dell fixed my monitor order for the full story.]

Dell logo

Dell, I’m not happy with you. I’m not happy with you at all. Your incompetent customer service has screwed up the timelines for an important project for a new client, yet your blind, stupid corporate machine blunders on like a brain-damaged slug.

If you read my Twitter stream yesterday you can probably skip this post. However I will document this little disaster because I’m still waiting for Dell to provide the promised explanation and I’ll point their people in this direction. I have specific questions at the end.

In brief, though, it was a customer “service” disaster. I’ll continue to recommend Hewlett Packard’s well-engineered computers and excellent service to my clients.

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