Weekly Wrap 193: Mid-month surge, then rain and planes

Sydney airport before dawn: click for original imageMy week of Monday 10 to Sunday 16 February 2014 isn’t quite finished, but today is effectively the start of a new working week so… well, here we are. Before breakfast at Sydney Airport. Or right next to it. Call it a wrap of Monday to Saturday.

It seems that I switched from early-month torpor to late-month productivity around mid-week. We’ll see how that pans out over the next few days. But I do think I’m starting to identity a clear pattern here.


Media Appearances


I suppose I should give better prominence to 5at5, the “email letter” that I started two weeks ago. I’ve actually managed to stick to the daily routine — albeit with some wobbliness in the “around 5pm Sydney time” part of the deal — and it seems like people are liking it. Enjoy.

Corporate Largesse

  • Today I’m heading to the Gold Coast for the three-day Tech Leaders Forum 2014, formerly known as Kickstart Forum, an event I’ve attended in previous years. The event organisers cover my airfares and accommodation, and there’s usually plenty of food and drink and various freebies from the vendors who pay for it all. I’ll list all of the largesse next week so it’s all in the one place.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be on the Gold Coast through until Tuesday evening, fully occupied with the aforementioned event. I’ll then return to the Blue Mountains for a solid week of writing. There’s nothing locked in for Sydney at this stage, but of course that may change.

[Photo: Sydney airport before dawn, taken shortly before the post was published.]

Weekly Wrap 192: Calm, too calm, too quiet

My week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 February 2014 was, as I predicted last week, a quiet one, thanks to what now appears to be a distinct monthly cycle. We shall have to do something about that.

I shan’t list all the empty sections to this post, revealing that there weren’t any final media outputs — except of course for the daily 5at5 email letter, as I’m calling it. Why I started doing a new thing that generates no revenue is beyond my understanding. I mean, I explained it last week, but the explanation doesn’t make any sense.

However I did do quite a bit of preparation for the coming week…

The Week Ahead

I’m likely to be in the Blue Mountains through until Friday or Saturday, but as always that might change at very short notice.

There’s two key structuring events this week. On Wednesday I’m moderating a panel discussion on Australia’s new privacy laws for Hitachi Data Systems. That’s at 1200 AEDT, and it’s a Google Hangout so you can watch from wherever you are. And on Sunday I’m heading to the Gold Coast for the annual Kickstart Forum, where my tech press co-conspirators and I will be propagandised for three days.

Somewhere in there I may construct some paragraphs for money.

Weekly Wrap 142: Queensland, rain, alcohol and suchlike

Approaching the colony planet: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 18 to Sunday 24 February 2013 began in Queensland, of course, because I told you that last week. It then went to Sydney, Wentworth Falls, Sydney, and Wentworth Falls again.

The latter part of the week included far too much alcohol, but we won’t talk about that.

More importantly, the week was full of rain. Rain in Queensland. Rain in the Blue Mountains. Rain in Sydney. Too much rain.



None. There was going to be one, for TechRepublic, but my recorder died. I am jinxed.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • I attended Kickstart Forum 2013, the annual get-together of many of Australia’s technology journalists with a bunch of vendors who pay to be there. There was plenty of largesse. Event organisers: return flights from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast and two nights accommodation at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort including breakfast. AVG ANZ: Information drinks on Sunday evening. Emerson Network Power: a 4GB USB drive containing their media pack. Intel: Sunday night’s superhero-themed dinner (although I didn’t go). KANA Software: a “personal survival kit” containing a Berocca Twist & Go, Panadol (12 tablets), Mentos mints (4) and a branded water bottle. LogMeIn: a spiral-bound paper notebook, a pen and a Berocca Twist & Go. Motorola Solutions: a 4GB USB drive containing their media pack. NEC: audio earbuds in a sensible little plastic case, and an iDual combined stylus and writing pen. NetSuite: Sunday night’s 1980s-themed dinner. Rackspace: Tuesday’s lunch. Symantec: Monday’s lunch, a branded water bottle (not taken) and a blank 8GB car-shaped USB drive. Truphone: a 2GB USB drive containing their media pack.
  • On Wednesday I attended the launch of VMware’s new end-user computing platform, which took the form of a lunch at Altitude Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney. There was food and wine and a view.

The Week Ahead

Monday is a day of writing, with articles for CSO Online and Technology Spectator. On Tuesday I’ll pop down to Sydney for the lunchtime launch of Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business. The rest of the week has yet to be arranged, but it’s looking like a steady few days of writing and planning. The weekend is completely unplanned.

[Photo: Approaching the colony planet, actually a photograph of the pumpkin and ginger soup at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba.]

Weekly Wrap 141: Taiga and the travels, to Queensland!

Modern economics explained: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 11 to Sunday 17 February 2013 was a strange one, beginning in Wentworth Falls and ending in Queensland, with a brief sojourn in Parramatta.

It was in Parramatta that I met my new friend (pictured), whose name is Taiga. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll have seen a lot of him over the weekend. You’ll see more today and tomorrow, I’m sure.



None. But wait, I told you! Be patient!

Media Appearances


Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

Kickstart Forum on Monday and Tuesday, returning to Sydney on Tuesday night. On Wednesday VMWare is launching the new end-user computing platform in Sydney at Altitude Restaurant in The Rocks. I haven’t locked in my plans beyond that. Please place your bids.

[Photo: Modern economics explained, being a photograph of Taiga looking eastwards from the Parkroyal Parramatta.]

Malcolm Turnbull and the NBN: This one’s for you, Sir!

Malcolm Turnbull on ABC TV's Lateline: click for video and transcriptThis post is written for an audience of one. The Honorable Malcolm Turnbull MP, Member for Wentworth and Shadow Minister for Communications and Broadband. But all you proles are welcome to read it too.

Since I last spoke with Turnbull eighteen months ago for the Patch Monday podcast, his comments on Australia’s National Broadband Network (NBN) have frustrated me to hell. I’m guessing he’s not thrilled with what I’ve written since then either — because most of it has been critical of his comments, or even straight-up mockery.

My frustration is fuelled by cognitive dissonance. I admire Turnbull’s sharp use of political rhetoric. Indeed, I’ve praised him for it many times. But recently so much of Turnbull’s use of this rhetoric has been to play the pathetic old party-political tribal games that dominate the political narrative and, quite frankly, turn people off.

Sure, propaganda must trigger biases and responses that the audience already holds. That’s Joseph Goebbel’s Principles of Propaganda 101. So, yes, here we go again. Cuba communism socialism Labor North Korea Kremlin secrecy Stalin pogrom Labor socialism bad bad bad. Yawn. Y-fucking-awn.

In my most recent piece, Some of that ol’ NBN religion, I wrote:

In a rational world, something as important as a political party’s policies for the nation’s broadband infrastructure would refer to objective facts and measures.

There’d be no talk of “super-fast broadband”, as if that were actually a unit of measurement. There’d be no lumping together of different technologies with widely different performance characteristics under this or any other generic label. We might not necessarily go into the fine details of bonded copper pairs or GPONs versus other kinds of optical fibre distribution, but we’d at least have the decency to talk about actual upload and download speeds, about theoretical maximum speeds versus those that are likely to be obtained in real life, and maybe even about capabilities.

We might even discuss the relationship between upload speeds and download speeds, and the ability for individuals and businesses to be creators and participants in the digital economy and culture, rather than merely consumers.

It said much the same sort of thing back in June 2011 when I wrote The only NBN monopoly seems to be on ignorance. Again, my frustration stemmed from the simple fact that both major political parties, not just Turnbull’s Coalition, seem intent on keeping us ignorant instead of properly explaining their different approaches to what is, as we’re continually told, Australia’s biggest infrastructure project ever.

Now as it happens, Turnbull is delivering a keynote address at Kickstart Forum, the annual get-together of many of Australia’s IT journalists and the vendors who pay to be there, on Tuesday morning. This looks like the perfect opportunity to present some facts to an audience that’s equipped to understand and interpret them for the voters.

I think I’ve only spoken with Turnbull twice. Once was the podcast, and that was over the phone. The other was in the flesh, maybe a year or two beforehand, at some event at the ABC’s headquarters in Ultimo, Sydney. But it was nothing more than a polite greeting as we were introduced.

Mr Turnbull, I very much look forward to meeting you again on Tuesday.

[Photo: Malcolm Turnbull as seen on ABC TV’s Lateline, 14 February 2013.]

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.]