The 9pm Edict #14

The 9pm EdictHomosexuals are special. They can vote people out of their club. Heterosexuals whine that their institutionalised racist breeder-money has been cut by, gosh, seven perfect. (Hi, Sherlock!) And the three stages of Top Gun and more from the CBS Interactive Christmas Party.

In this disturbing and long-overdue return of The 9pm Edict podcast, you’ll hear about the legal problems with the 2008 Gay Softball World Series, face the facts about cuts to Australia’s stupidly-named Baby Bonus, and hear a bunch of people at the CBS Interactive party talk about their childhood heroes.

If you were at that party and just want to listen to yourself, fast forward to the 10 minute 40 second mark.

Yes, there are bad words. And bonus hypocrisy.

You can listen below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

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If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission. Extracts from The Breeders song Cannonball and the movie Forbidden Planet.]

My dreams for 2010 (speaking formally)

ABC Unleased asked me think about what I want for 2010, in the context of my writing about the Internet and suchlike. My comments didn’t get a run in their piece My dreams for 2010 today, so here they are for you now, Gentle Readers.

From the government, I’d like more openness and the active inclusion of citizens in decision-making from the beginning. We’re not just an audience to be sold a policy cooked up with noisy lobby groups and the big end of town. The Government 2.0 Taskforce recommended a declaration of open government and, amongst other things, making all public sector information free and freely reusable by default, easily discoverable, and published in machine-readable formats to open standards. Let’s start seeing some of that — and not stuff at the edges like the public toilet database but big slabs of core government information.

From media magnates, less whinging about new competitors “stealing” your audience — we’re not your property! — and a lot more about making yourselves relevant to our new needs. We’ve got so many ways of informing and entertaining ourselves now, so do take that on board. Also, sourcing a comment to a random person on Twitter is not journalism. Find out who and where they are and give a bit of background.

And from the Twitterverse, quite a bit less self-congratulation and a quite a lot more practical work. Turning your avatar green or red or black changes nothing. “But I’m raising awareness” it not a valid explanation, either, because chances are your friends already agree with you. Open communication with someone well outside your normal circle and make a difference. Please.

The ABC piece is worth reading too, with contributions from editor Jonathan Green, Sophie Cunningham from Meanjin, comedian John Safran, opposition leader Tony Abbott, refugee and human rights activist Pamela Curr, futurist Mark Pesce, researcher and author Chris Berg, Julian Morrow of The Chaser fame, Robert Manne, Catherine Deveny, human rights lawyer Julian Burnside, artist Gerard Oosterman, scientist Julian Cribb, journalist and former writer for The Chaser Gregor Stronach, and Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia.

I haven’t had a chance to think about what I want personally. I was working on some urgent, stressful documents right up until close of business on New Year’s Eve, and went to bed early, exhausted. Maybe today’s beautiful showery day in Sydney, or tomorrow’s thunderstorms, will provide that inspiration.

NBN: Everyone’s got an opinion

Crikey logo

RuddNet Day 3. The armchair-expert “network engineers” who infest Whirlpool, people who’ve never built a network more complex than the one linking their porn stash to the TV, are suddenly spouting off about national-scale infrastructure not just there but everywhere. Pity their friends.

So began the article I wrote for Crikey on Thursday 9 April.

As John Safran once said, thanks to the internet, “We can all now chip in and pool our ignorance.” The Dunning-Kruger Effect operates full force. As always.

And nowhere was that ignorance better represented than on Twitter.

I’m such a hypocrite. I’ve previously slagged off journalists for simply copying comments from Twitter without adding any value. And this piece is, essentially, a summary of what’s been said on Twitter. Oh dear. Anyway, you too can be a journalist by following the same technique. The Crikey piece explains how.

You can use Twitter Search to find every tweet mentioning “nbn”. But for a richer experience, the much prettier Twitterfall lets you view an animated twitterstream, pearls of wisdom dropping as Manna from Heaven.

Just imagine. With the NBN it won’t just be typed words, you’ll be able to see and hear all this in living colour and surround sound. Ah, $43 billion…

I’ll probably have a summary of some of the better commentary when I return to work mode on Tuesday.