Weekly Wrap 299: Ale and altitude, kind of

Beer Bubbles: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 22 to Sunday 28 February 2016 was another relative unproductive one, for reasons explained last time, but it was an improvement. Improvement is good.

A personal update will be posted in the next few days. For now, on with the show…


None, but I do want to wrap up that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast very soon. See below.


None, but I have a ZDNet column being published on Monday.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse


The Week Ahead

This will be the first is a series of quite structured weeks for me, which will be a challenge. I daresay I may have to change a few things as I go along. But with that said, here’s the plan…

On Monday, I’ll catch the 0734 train to Sydney, completing my ZDNet column en route. At 1100, I’ll catch VA834 SYD-MEL. Once I’ve checked in to my hotel, I’ll bring my various geek-for-hire projects up to date.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, I’ll be covering the APIdays conference for ZDNet, and catching up with friends in the evenings. On Thursday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet, and having a couple of work-related meetings, before catching VA859 MEL-SYD at 1600. I’ll probably return to Wentworth Falls that night.

Friday through Saturday? Well, that depends on my energy levels. But I hope to get that podcast done somewhere in there.

Further Ahead

The following week, I’ll be in Canberra from Monday 7 March for the Australian Internet Industry Association (AIIA) Navigating Privacy and Security Summit on Tuesday. I’ll probably stay in Canberra on Wednesday. Then on Sunday, I’ll be back in the Blue Mountains for Tech Leaders.

I’ll be in Canberra again 12-14 April for the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) Conference. And I’ll be on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May for the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference.

[Photo: Beer Bubbles, specifically the Katoomba Brewing Company Great Western Golden Ale, photographed on 22 February 2016.]

Talking smartphone data and battery life on ABC Kimberley

ABC logoLast Sunday, Telstra gave free data to all its mobile customers in an attempt to make up for a major screw-up in the previous week. That triggered a conversation…

As a variety of news outlets reported, one guy managed to download more than 420GB of stuff. Telstra’s mobile network was reported to be pretty slow as many other selfish pigs pigged out.

On Wednesday, I told Vanessa Mills on ABC Kimberley in Western Australia how people could reduce their mobile data usage and increase their battery like. This is the resulting nine-minute conversation.

This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The ABC also turned this into a news story, Simple tricks to double your phone’s battery life and halve your data usage, posted Thursday morning.

Weekly Wrap 231: A purple flower, and the events pile up

Purple flag, a flower of some Patersonia species: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 November 2014 was remarkably productive, despite the temptations of then grains and the gentle ministrations of Mistress Insomnia.



My 5at5 daily email newsletter reappeared, and I managed to produce all five editions on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Why not subscribe so you receive them all?

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday, I went to the launch of the Microsoft Nokia Lumia 830 smartphone at Paramount House in Surry Hills, where I was of course given good canapés and wine. I also got a Lumia-branded tote bag containing a packet of Microsoft-branded jelly babies; a 2GB USB stick containing media information; and a loaner unit of the Lumia 830 itself. I’ll be using it over the next two weeks, and will report back at the end of that time.
  • Also on Thursday, I went to the Indies Party, the annual not-quite-Christmas party held jointly by the PR agencies Bass PR, Shuna Boyd PR, Einsteinz Communications, and Espresso Communications. There was food and drink aplenty.

The Week Ahead

The coming week is both busy and more structure than usual. That said, my schedule is always subject to last-minute changes — whether that’s down to the news cycle, cashflow glitches, or simply not caring any more. As usual, the daily plan tweets my be found on my voluminous Twitter feed.

Monday should see the completion of an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

Tuesday is a Sydney day. I plan to attend the Remembrance Day ceremonies in Martin Place, though that will depend on me getting a decent sleep the night before. Then there’s a lunch briefing with the Australian government’s CTO, John Sheridan, then coffee with a PR agency, then two events in the evening. Audible is launching something or other with the hashtag #ListenUp, and Chinese tech giant Huawei is launching their new smart device. That looks like rather a long day, so I plan to stay overnight in Sydney.

Wednesday should see a morning of writing, then a meeting with executives from Slovakian information security company ESET, and some time at AVAR, the 17th annual conference of the Association of Anti-Virus Asia Researchers, which ESET is organising this year.

That conference runs through to Friday, but I’m not sure how much of it I’ll be able to catch. I still have my usual column for ZDNet Australia to write on Thursday, and some administrivia to deal with on Friday, and I hope to get some other bits and pieces of writing done too.

The weekend is yet again unplanned, as seems to be the usual way lately. At least at this stage.

Update 10 November 2014: Edited to add a section for 5at5, which I’d forgotten.

[Photo: Purple, being a flower of some Patersonia species, photographed at Bunjaree Cottages on 5 November 2014. It’s a Patersonia serica, according to Flower Checker.]

Talking WireLurker, Google, Peta Credlin on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logoThe WireLurker malware that affects Apple’s iOS and OS X devices has been in the technical news this week. That caught Will Goodings’ eye, as did the Forbes list of the world’s 100 most powerful people. We chatted about both on Friday afternoon.

I wrote about WireLurker at Crikey, so I won’t repeat that here. Our conversation on 1395 FIVEaa fleshes out some of the issues. If you want to get into the technicals, you can always read the original report from Palo Alto Networks or the independent analysis by Jonathan Zdziarski.

As for the Forbes list, Goodings was wanting to chat about Google founders Sergey Brin and Larry Page jointly holding the number nine spot. Which we did. But he also was interested in my suggestions.

For the most powerful Australian, I nominated the prime minister’s chief of staff Peta Credlin. “Nothing goes into the prime minister’s ear without her say-so, and nothing comes out of the government onto the media without her say-so,” I said.

Goodings then added his own comments, based on having see Credlin at work. It’s worth listening to. It starts at 15 minutes 27 seconds. I’ll also extract them for the next episode of The 9pm Edict.

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Talking Facebook app privacy on 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide

FIVEaa logo“Facebook Messenger app has permission to spy on your phone,” screeched a headline on 9 News today. “The new Facebook Messenger app has permission to take pictures and videos without your confirmation and to call numbers without intervention, causing unexpected charges.”

This story caught the attention of 1395 FIVEaa Adelaide afternoon presenter Will Goodings. As you’ll hear, I talked him out of some of the scarier ideas, but did mention the issues of granularity in smartphone app permissions that I’ve written about before.

Here’s the full interview, plus a little end note about what we might do with Adelaide’s Festival Plaza. I present a modest proposal, as does a listener.

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.