Weekly Wrap 384: International diplomacy, and a skink

SkinkThe week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 October 2017 was short and full of pain, a bit like Woody Allen. Monday was a public holiday, and the rest of the week was packed with media tasks.


Both articles relate to the launch by foreign minister Julie Bishop of Australia’s first International Cyber Engagement Strategy on Wednesday. There might be a third story next week.


None by me, but I’m the guest on the next episode of the Covert Contact podcast. It was recorded on Friday, and will appear on Monday — which may be Tuesday Australian time.

Media Appearances

  • This week Australia’s federal and state governments agreed to merge the state-held facial biometric databases for things like drivers licenses into the federal system. I spoke about that on ABC Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon, and ABC South East NSW on Thursday morning. I probably won’t have time to post the audio though.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday, there were nibbles to be eaten at that cyber policy launch.

The Week Ahead

Monday and Tuesday will be a confused mix of planning, administrivia, story pitches, geekery, shopping, and other errands up here in the Blue Mountains.

Wednesday and Thursday will be spent in Sydney. Mostly it’s to cover the national conference of the Australian Information Security Association (AISA), but that’s up against the grandly named Everything IoT Global Leadership Summit, so I might pop over to that for a while too.

Friday 13 October is clearly going to be a day of writing. The weekend is unplanned.

Further Ahead

I think I’ll have to drop my plan to cover Ruxcon in Melbourne on 21–22 October, because it’s only two weeks away and there isn’t actually a plan. If I do get the energy for crowdfunding, it should probably go towards other things.

At this stage, there’s nothing special through to the end of the year. Now is your chance to fix that.

[Photo: Skink, being a 25cm-long skink of unknown species photographed at Bunjaree Cottages on 6 October 2017.]

The 9pm Sleepless in Canberra

Screenshot from Tony Abbott press conference, 8 February 2015

Yes, this episode of The 9pm Edict is hitting the internets just one week after the previous one. Crusader Rabbit explains in detail why he should stay on as Prime Minister. Everything seems to be a bit chaotic, and Malcolm Turnbull seems to know why. Ah, such joy!

In this podcast there’s talk of music, chaos, character and the Liberal Party’s problem with women, as well as sex with animals, and philosophy.

Continue reading “The 9pm Sleepless in Canberra”

Most popular posts of 2014

Since we’re approaching the end of 2014, here’s my usual list of the most-read posts on this website.

This represents only the material published right here, not things I write for money elsewhere and which have a far higher readership. It doesn’t include traffic to the home page, the about page, or anything else on the site that isn’t an actual blog post.

  1. Updated: Christopher Pyne clearly says the C-word? Nope. Did Christopher Pyne drop the c-bomb in Parliament or not? I first thought yes, then changed my mind. But I’m wondering now whether I want to change it back.
  2. May Reza Berati be the last, Mr Abbott. I was in a mood that night, but I think the writing stands up.
  3. Operation Sovereign Borders, sinister and banal. My reaction to Mick Kinley, acting chief executive officer of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) shrugging off concerns that Australia removes safety equipment from the lifeboats we put asylum seekers on before telling them to go home.
  4. Adventures in Identity: Still struggling with Google+, from January.
  5. Guilty of being a teenager in a public place, in which I kick off about the actions of the police in Mosman.
  6. Algorithms and the Filter Bubble, Take 3, being the recording of my guest lecture at UTS in April. This reminds me that I haven’t posted the updated version from the second half of the year. Oops.
  7. Tone-Deaf Abbott no statesman, never will be, my comment on the Prime Minister’s message on the 70th anniversary of the D-Day landings.
  8. Announcing 5at5, my new daily email letter, which explains itself.
  9. The 9pm Shire, one of my favourite episodes of The 9pm Edict podcast.
  10. A loving profile of Tony Abbott, which simply embeds the video of American TV host John Oliver’s roasting of Abbott.

Continue reading “Most popular posts of 2014”

The 9pm Road to War

Screenshot from WCSC Live 5 News: click for original news story

Prime Minister Tony Abbott points to the enemy, and to the difficult road ahead. What road is that? Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gives a clue.

We also determine the three key differences between Philip Ruddock and a mechanical duck.

We award elephant stamps for people who have been exceptional in the category of thinking to the authorities of Summerville, South Carolina, for arresting a 9th-grader for an alleged dinosaur killing (pictured above), and the 20-year-old man arrested at Riverwood on 26 August.

And we introduce a new segment, Ubergasm, exploring the work of our favourite libertarian disruptors. Today we hear about Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft and a tweet from PR columnist Ed Zitron.

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On Twitter, the Silly Season, and a certain list

Twitter logo with Christmas hat“It really does seem that it’s now that time of the year on Twitter when I could admit to raping a nun no one would notice,” I tweeted in the early hours of New Year’s Eve. “Or even fucking a pig, for that matter.”

The traditional media Silly Season seems to apply to all these new-fangled media operations as well. On and on about the goddam cricket, they tweet.

Meanwhile the traffic levels, and hence the potential audience for any tweets you might tweet, are way down. Hence my coenobitic considerations and porcine ponderings.

“Maybe I should just tweet about all of the things that you shouldn’t fuck until it turns 2013,” I tweeted, despite what Charlie Brooker might think.

And so I did. For the next hour and forty minutes.

Here’s the list. I reckon that just reading it here, without the real-time performance aspect, diminishes it. Nevertheless, enjoy.

Continue reading “On Twitter, the Silly Season, and a certain list”

Most popular posts of 2010

As the first of my new-year posts, here’s a list of the most-read posts from 2010.

  1. HTC Desire to OS X tethering via USB. Hardly the most general article, but it shoes how you can attract website traffic if you have useful how-to information. Of course this article is irrelevant now that the HTC Desire runs Android 2.2, which has tethering as a built-in function.
  2. Cheap fake tan and fat thighs? Snooki! This is embarrassing, really, but I get traffic to this post because Google Images lists it as one of the first few results for “snooki fat”.
  3. ICT Election Forum: what questions? This one puzzles me. The post just mentions that the pre-election forum was happening, and I asked people to suggest questions. Maybe they’re really looking for something else.
  4. Why I’ve deleted my Facebook account, which is self-explanatory.
  5. Homophobic beat-up by Sun-Herald’s Heath Aston, about a very grubby tabloid attempt to smear a politician.
  6. Senate to re-open Bloggers versus Journalists. When I write about journalism, it usually gets retweeted heavily through media circles. It certainly makes a difference to website traffic.
  7. Jetstar, Powderfinger to exploit fan’s enthusiasm, one of my rants against the evils of “crowdsourcing” that’s really just unpaid labour.
  8. Adam Schwab’s NBN reply, which is Mr Schwab’s response to my article Adam Schwab’s NBN “analysis” arsehattery.
  9. Time to dump 20th Century “leadership”?. The main point is that you can’t just bolt some sort of “government 2.0 module” onto steam-era bureaucracies and magically bring them into the 21st Century.
  10. Selling the NBN: couldn’t you do better?. I have no idea why this, of all the things I’ve written about the National Broadband Network, was one of the most-read. It’s certainly not the best.

Just like last year, many older posts also continued to be popular. Indeed, as I worked down the website traffic report, I filled all ten slots in the non-2010 list while managing to find only two stories from the current year. Yet more proof that the more material you have on your website the more visits you’ll get. Don’t delete your old material, people!

However something that worries me is that so many of the items are listed not because people were reading the posts, but because other internet users had hot-linked to the images — that is, included them on another website — or robots attempting to post spam in the comments.

OK, the Top 10 posts of 2010 that weren’t written in 2010.

  1. 67 Australian SAS captured airbase defended by 1000 (March 2008). I think this one only makes the list because the photo keeps getting embedded in various military geek forums.
  2. Live Blog: Internet censorship forum, which is only in the list because for some reason or other it was hit heavily by the spambots. Who would read a live blog from a forum back in 2008?
  3. Julie, I want to make you a star (in a Samantha Fox kind of way) (September 2007) My ode to Julie Bishop, popular because of its photograph of Samantha Fox.
  4. Hello Kitty, you’re dead, and other surprise products (October 2007) People link to the (fake) photo of the Hello Kitty AK-47. Few seem to realise it’s a joke.
  5. Apple iPhone parodies (January 2007). Another embedded photo, I reckon. I must make sure my traffic reports filter out that stuff.
  6. Spaceport America, designed by Foster+Partners (October 2007). I’m puzzled why this one is on the list. Maybe people linking to the photos again?
  7. Live Blog: Politics & Technology Forum 2009 (February 2009). Another artefact of the spam robits, I think.
  8. The Madness of Corey Worthington Delaney (January 2008), proving once more that the lowest common denominator wins.
  9. My new hero: Hideki Moronuki (January 2008). Whenever the work of Sea Shepherd is in the news, people stumble across this post and discover that — shock horror! — I’m no a fan of that organisation.
  10. Oz soldiers design own recruitment ads (April 2007).

None of that surprises me. The most common searches which brought visitors to my website were “steve irwin jokes”, “stilgherrian”, “heath ledger jokes”, “julia gillard”, “hideki moronuki”, “snooki fat”, “sas”, “fisting”, “snooki is fat” and “hello kitty ak 47”.

You might also like to check out my own selection for what I think were the best posts from 2010, plus the lists for previous years: