Weekly Wrap 91: Information goes in, but doesn’t come out

My usual weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This post covers the week from Monday 27 February to Sunday 4 March 2012. Busy busy busy!

So busy, in fact, that this wrap is being posted a week late! That’s what I get for deciding at the last minute to insert a two-day cybercrime conference into my schedule. I did fit, but it was a bit tight. Shoosh.


  • Patch Monday episode 127, “Radiation, nanodiamonds and traffic lights”. From NICTA’s Techfest 2012, researchers explain how to protect their bionic eye circuitry with nanodiamonds, design radiation detectors for ports and airports, and update 40-year-old traffic control algorithms.


Not a single one. Strange week.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • In the first part of the week I was at the Kickstart Forum. This meant airfares, accommodation at Hyatt Regency Sanctuary Cove and various meals paid for by Media Connect with the funds obviously coming from their corporate sponsors. Also, AVG gave us a small magnifying glass. Ninefold handed out t-shirts, plus I’ve got a hoodie on the way. Symantec gave us a three-PC license for Norton 360 version 6 and a single-Mac license for Norton Internet Security for Macintosh. And CA gave us men a Windsor shaving kit with mirror, brush etc. I don’t know what they gave the women.
  • On Thursday and Friday I attended the inaugural Cyber Crime Symposium, with food and drink provided by the Marriott Sydney Harbour thanks to the conference organisers.


Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream (or they used to before my phone camera got a bit too scratched up). The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Clear Blue Sky. The sky meets the distant Pacific Ocean, with the horizon an indistinct blur. This photo was taken from a Jetstar Airbus A321 somewhere over northern NSW.]

[Update 0900: Added in the corporate largesse from Australian cloud provider Ninefold, which I’d accidentally left out.]

Fine posts for 2010

Since the list of most popular posts for 2010 was pretty disappointing, here’s my personal selection of eight more timeless posts for this year — listed in chronological order. Happy reading!

As usual, this does not include the material I wrote elsewhere, for Crikey, ZDNet.com.au and ABC Online. That’s all listed on my Media Output page.

  1. 50 to 50 #1: Born in Gawler, the first of what was intended to be a series of 50 posts leading up to my 50th birthday. Well, I got a few done, and you can find them in the 50 to 50 category.
  2. Internet hosting: the cost of support, the first in a series of three articles to help people understand how internet hosting services work from a small business perspective.
  3. Internet hosting: the cost of reliability. The second. Alas, the third article has not yet appeared.
  4. Why I’ve deleted my Facebook account, which is self-explanatory.
  5. Jetstar, Powderfinger to exploit fan’s enthusiasm, one of my rants against the evils of “crowdsourcing” that’s really just unpaid labour.
  6. Homophobic beat-up by Sun-Herald’s Heath Aston. Sometimes the popular stories are also the good ones.
  7. Return of the Hallucinating Goldfish: Help! Another brief piece about my little metaphor for government.
  8. Problematising the discourse: clear communication fail. A stumbled across an unfamiliar word while reading newmatilda.com, and that triggered an essay on choosing appropriate vocabulary for your audience.

You might also like to check out my personal favourites from 2009 and 2008.

Jetstar, Powderfinger to exploit fan’s enthusiasm

Australian airline Jetstar and the managers of rock band Powderfinger seem to think that waving the magic word “social media” means free labour. Exploitative cunts.

As mUmBRELLA reported:

Jetstar is continuing its drive into social media, funding an official blogger on Powderfinger’s farewell tour which is sponsored by the budget airline.

According to Jetstar: “Over 50 days, Jetstar’s official tour blogger will ‘Follow the Finger’ and produce daily blogs, video diaries, fan photos and Twitter updates. They will interview the band and support acts, interact with fans and locals and become a member of the tour support team.”

As well as covering travel and accommodation, the blogger will receive an allowance of $100 a day.


So in other words, for more than a month and a half, the “winner” of the “competition” will work as a writer covering the tour — call it journalism or blogging or whatever you like, it’s all the same thing. They’ll work as a producer, curating fan photos. They work as a PR assistant and “interact with fans and locals and become a member of the tour support team”. That’s a whole bunch of different media skills, a pretty special person indeed.

In return they get paid less than the legislated minimum wage.

The federal minimum wage is currently $15.00 per hour or $569.90 per 38 hour week (before tax).

Casual employees covered by the national minimum wage also get at least a 21 per cent casual loading.

I reckon “become a member of the tour support team” sounds like an offer of employment, yeah?

“Jetstar has been making a growing investment in social media,” says mUmBRELLA, but clearly not enough to pay a fair day’s wage for a fair day’s work.

Maybe Jetstar should try telling the roadies they’ll also get $100 a day “allowance” in return for the privilege of seeing all 34 concerts. To their faces. And I’ll sit back and watch…

Please insert a final angry sentence that includes the words “exploitation”, “unethical” and “pond slime”. And on Monday I’ll be phoning Fair Work Australia for an opinion.

Rock on.

Unless, of course, Jetstar get in touch before then to tell me they’ve decided to pay the winner the proper MEAA rate for freelance writers [PDF].