Choosing my next media directions: you’re doing it, OK?

Look, I’ve been thinking about this stuff all week and I can’t decide. So over to you. Scroll down for a Proper Scientific Poll on the Internet! What media stuff would you like me to do?

I last wrote about this in January, in Five questions and no answers about my media work. Read that before proceeding if you like, but it’s not absolutely necessary.

My regular media commitments currently stand at: a weekly column for ZDNet; a twice-a-month column for CSO Online; around one column a month for Technology Spectator; and a variable number for Crikey. Add in the occasional piece elsewhere, and it looks a little like this.

Media objects produced 2011–2013

The main problem is that the base level of material isn’t high enough, and in recent months it’s started getting a little wobbly. So, how can I build on what I’ve got? And how can I have a bit more fun?

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Five questions and no answers about my media work

With a blog post to write, I now have everything I need: click to embiggenAs my first full working week for 2013 draws to a close, almost, here’s an update on how I’m thinking this year might unfold for me. At least as far as work goes.

(If you’re not up to speed on this, please read Doing the business on Stilgherrian’s journalism and Death of a Freedom Fighter, a writing challenge before continuing. The second one includes an explanation of my focus on how the internet is changing power relationships.)

First, there’s a tidy-up of my arrangements with mastheads I currently write for. That’s already delivered two changes. Crikey has given me a pay rise, to a level they now describe as “slightly less pathetic”. I’ve started pitching more stories, and that’s resulted in three stories this week. And there’s this as-yet unnamed sky-shouting column in the works, which will start soon.

Second, I’m thinking of doing a few self-funded projects — or at least projects for which I directly arrange funding — rather than through someone else’s masthead. There’s all sorts of ideas rolling around in my head, though I haven’t reached any firm conclusions yet.

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Live Blog: How pwned am I?

Uhoh. My MacBook Pro may have been hacked. I’ve already done a bit of troubleshooting, but this looks like it’s going to be A Thing, so I’ve decided to liveblog it. And here’s the liveblog.

The brief version is that Apple Mail crashed when it tried to open a particular email message dated 4 November, one containing a PDF file. Consistently. So I thought I’d do a virus scan on it.

That’s when Norton Internet Security reported that LiveUpdate was missing pieces, and I saw that it hadn’t checked for updates since… 4 November. Eek.

Now all the action would have happened on my battered old MacBook Pro running OS X 10.6 Snow Leopard. That computer finally died of motherboard failure on 11 November and I replaced it with a fresh OS X 10.7 Lion machine on 12 November.

However I did just transfer everything across using Apple’s migration tool, rather than freshly installing all the software and just copying the data, so… well… who knows what the hell is going on?

Deep in my heart I suspect that it was just bugginess and a dying computer, copied badly to a new computer. I hope.

If you want to follow or even help, the liveblog is over the jump.

[Update 11.20pm: Things may not be as bad as I thought. It turns out that Norton Internet Security for Mac version 4.x is only compatible for OS X up to version 10.6 Snow Leopard. There’s NIS version 5.x for OS X 10.7 Lion. It looks like it’s a straightforward software compatibility problem, and the lack of updates could be because I was travelling that week and the computer was offline when updates were scheduled. If this is all the case, I’m a bit disappointed that the software itself couldn’t figure this out.]

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Live Blog: X|Media|Lab Global Media Ideas Sydney

Here’s where I’m liveblogging X|Media|Lab’s Global Media Ideas conference at the Sydney Opera House on Friday 18 June 2010.

It’s billed as “the must-attend event for digital media and creative industries entrepreneurs who are creating businesses for local and international markets”. With all the business-related words in that, I’m guessing that “ideas” really means “business models” rather than “new media forms”.

Be warned. I’m approaching this event from a rather jaundiced viewpoint. Perhaps that’s more about my view of “new media”conferences than anything specific to this event. I suggest you read my angry blog post about this before joining the liveblog.

Just bookmark this page and pop back on the day. The event runs 9am to 5pm Sydney time, and I’ll cover as much as I can. I’ll also issue reminders via my Twitter stream and tag everything #xml #xmedialab.

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Liveblogging X|Media|Lab’s Global Media Ideas, but why?

This Friday 18 June 2010 (i.e. tomorrow) I’m liveblogging from X|Media|Lab’s Global Media Ideas conference at the Sydney Opera House. And to be honest, I really don’t know why.

Well, I do know why. I was invited to. And I said yes. But my reticence, if that’s the right word, is based on two concerns:

  1. I’m starting to think that liveblogging is a wank.

    I’ve previously written that Twitter is useless for covering conferences and, yesterday, that Twitter is useless for political debates. Liveblogging isn’t much different. Just because technology enables something to be done doesn’t mean that it’s useful. Especially this instant-comment stuff.

    If the aim is to deliver the conference experience to people who can’t attend physically, then we’ve got streaming video or — gasp! — television.

    If the aim is to give people my thoughts about the event, then surely it’d be better for me to take notes and then, later, write something coherent. Not deliver a dribble of instant judgements on what’s being said. Such live streams always tend towards superficial quips, jokes and out-of-context sound bites.

  2. Haven’t we really had quite enough talking about “ideas”?

    This event is part of Vivid Sydney, “a festival of light, music and ideas”. Now don’t get me started on the “light” bit. My opinion of people who think that pointing coloured lights at city buildings is somehow the height of creativity can only be expressed using strings of Anglo-Saxon words and references to veterinary apparatus that are completely inappropriate at this hour of the day. Even for me. No, the “ideas” part is sufficiently rage-inducing.

    We’ve only just had TEDxSydney, “Ideas worth spreading”. I find the whole TED thing a bit of a wank. They’re an idea-junkie’s equivalent of a Tony Robbins seminar. Quick, high-energy presentations that get everyone’s adrenalin going, mixed with a burst of endorphins from having supposedly learnt something new. From being “inspired”. And then everyone goes back to being the same middle-class consumption-driven tool they were before, desperate to buy their iPad on Day One lest they somehow fall behind. Until the next chance to break out of their dull routine and, once more, be “inspired”.

    Maybe it’s time, especially in this whole “OMFG what’s happening to the media?” realm, to start moving beyond talking about “ideas” and get on with the “doing”. Or, even better, some “achieving”.

    As Thomas Edison said, Genius is one percent inspiration, ninety-nine percent perspiration.

    And you know what? Once we’ve achieved something, there’s no need to create a presentation in Keynote — never PowerPoint, oh no! — with big, bold Creative Commons-licensed photos and maybe three big words on screen in Helvetica, in yellow. No, we can just STFU and go and achieve something else.

None of this is meant to be critical of X|Media|Lab. In my experience, their conferences such as Media 2010 have been professionally-run events with a fascinating range of speakers. I’m flattered, I suppose, that they think my presence is of value.

However X|Media|Lab is a commercial operation serving a market that, clearly, is there to be served. Events like TEDx and Media 2010 and this one and Media140 Sydney last year are always sold out. X|Media|Lab makes money — good on ’em! Everyone has a feel-good time. But what do events like this really achieve?

Maybe I’m being too harsh. Maybe The Lab days on Saturday and Sunday are the meat of the event. (I’d link to the page about The Lab if the website actually let you link to individual content pages. Twats.) Sixteen “innovative Australian digital projects” get two days of mentoring from heavies in “the industry”. Good for them.

But I am concerned that the conference day, tomorrow, is billed as “No time-wasting boring panels, just densely-packed, information-rich, clear and helpful, set piece keynotes from digital media luminaries from all over the world.”

If I have one complaint about almost every conference I’ve ever attended, it’s that there’s never enough time for discussion. The discussions are where everyone learns. If it’s just going to be one-way communication, a “luminary” (ugh!) talking at people, then that can be achieved by putting a video on a website. We can skip the pretension of booking a venue at the Sydney Opera House.

Anyway, here is the liveblog page. Things will kick off around 9am tomorrow Sydney time. Just be aware of how I’m currently thinking about this event.