Talking family data disaster planning on ABC 702 Sydney

ABC logoOn Tuesday last week, we feared that Wednesday would be a day of disastrous bushfires in NSW — certainly the risk was there — so what should people do to make sure their valuable personal and family data was safe?

I spoke about this with morning presenter Linda Mottram on ABC 702 Sydney, but not before we had a chat about what my impressions of how people were reacting to and preparing for the approaching fires — including my own emotions.

We ended up talking for 15 minutes. Here’s the full audio, minus the break for the news headlines at 1030.

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The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it’s not archived anywhere else.

Talking helpdesk robots on ABC 702 Sydney

ABC logoLast Tuesday 10 September, there was a story in the Sydney Morning Herald — though not the website, as far as we could see — that talked about the kind of helpdesk automation robots that are replacing first-level support staff for the simple things.

This caught the attention of the folks at ABC 702 Sydney, and I ended up having this 7-minute conversation with Linda Mottram. Enjoy.

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The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it’s not archived anywhere else.

Talking Click Frenzy on ABC 702 Sydney

I hadn’t even heard of Click Frenzy until the thing fell over, which shows how much attention I pay to the realm of commercial retail. But I ended up talking about it on ABC 702 Sydney the other day, because, well, it fell over.

I’ve posted the entire radio segment here, including the comments by Margie Osmond, chief executive of the Australian Retailers Association, because I was baffled by her excuse that technical incompetence is OK because other people are sometimes incompetent too.

I think the important thing to understand with this is that it’s been running for about five, six years in overseas countries. It runs in the US and UK and a whole range of other places under the Cyber Monday banner. And for all of that period that it has been operating overseas, as recently as last year, they routinely have crashes as part of this mechanism, simply because of the unpredictable peaks and troughs that occur as part of the mechanisms.

Traffic analysis is a thing, folks, and so is robust network design. Just because you can’t do it, doesn’t mean it can’t be done.

I was fairly even-handed in my commentary, pointing out that it’s possible for the developers to have recommended a more robust architecture that then wasn’t implemented because of cost or whatever. But later in the day I discovered more about the technical problems and I’d have gone in harder.

In particular, I discovered that they’d committed a rather bad security mistake, which I wrote about for ZDNet: Password exposed in Click Frenzy security slip.

The morning presenter at ABC 702 Sydney is Linda Mottram.

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The audio is ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Talking major sports’ future on ABC 702 Sydney

If you’d asked me last week what I thought I’d be doing this week, the answer would not have included “writing and talking about the future of the major sporting codes as televisions events”. But I wrote this thing in the newspaper…

Last week federal court judge Justice Steven Rares ruled that Optus’ TV Now service, which allows customers to record free-to-air TV and have it streamed back to their smartphone, tablet or computer at a more convenient time, was a legal form of time-shifting under section 111 of the Copyright Act 1968.

Even if competing telco Telstra had a supposedly-exclusive deal with the Australian Football League (AFL) to stream live video coverage of matches to smartphones. Even if the delay between an Optus customer starting to record a game and playing it back was just two minutes.

Telstra is paying the AFL $153 million over five years for this now-not-so-exclusive streaming right. Optus pays the AFL nothing, because they’re just providing a technical service through which individual customers make their own “solely for private and domestic use” recordings.

Josh Taylor covered it for ZDNet Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald commissioned me to write an opinion piece that was published this morning, Sport has to think outside the box. Do please read it. It seem to have struck a chord, because I’ve received a lot of compliments.

Then the ABC’s Linda Mottram asked me to chat about the issues on 702 Sydney. And here’s the audio, along with her subsequent chat with a talkback caller on the same topic.

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The audio is of course ©2012 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. But these program items usually aren’t archived on their website so here it is. And I will of course suggest that you listen to Linda Mottram’s morning program regularly.

I’m thinking of writing up some of my thoughts on how future sporting coverage could be done technically. Meanwhile, do you feel as I do that the days of cashed-up major sporting codes are about to end?

[Update 8 February 2012, 1015: The Sydney Morning Herald has published a follow-up piece this morning by rugby legend Roy Masters. Court has gambled with codes’ futures. Your challenge, should you choose to accept it, is to draw me a diagram of what the fuck he’s talking about.]