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Dead macOS screenMy week of Monday 18 to Sunday 24 June 2018 wasn’t all that exciting. I’ll list the usual things, but I’ll also keep it brief because my computer just died. Joy.

Articles

I also wrote another piece for the Crikey series we’ve been working on. I’m told this series will start appearing in early July.

Podcasts

None, but I really will do these two podcasts soon.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

Monday is supposed to be a writing day, but I may spend it arguing with technology. I’ll also do the shopping in Katoomba.

On Tuesday I’ll trek to Sydney. First, I’ll collect a loaner computer from The Rocks. Then it’s off to Apple Castle Towers — where there isn’t even a castle, let alone towers — to start the process of getting the computer fixed. And then it’s back to Wentworth Falls to make all the things work again.

The shape of the rest of the week will depend on how long it takes the repairs to happen, but it will include writing for the usual suspects.

Further Ahead

Things I’ve pencilled in, none of which have been confirmed yet:

Update 25 June 2018: Edited to clarify the week’s plans.

[Photo: What the screen of my MacBook Pro looks like right now.]

Malcolm Turnbull announces the federal electionMy week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 May 2016 was essentially a continuation of the previous week, although the illnesses both physical and digital have ended.

Well, the short-term medical conditions anyway. The long-term conditions are both being addressed more or less according to plan. Ish.

I’ll tell you about the key events another time, however. For now, just the essentials.

Podcasts

I’m quite pleased with this episode, and what little feedback I’ve had about the potential future of this podcast suggests that this magazine format is the way to go — although the Public House Forum episodes also seem popular.

Meanwhile…

Jobs and growth, jobs and growth, jobs and growth. Australia’s federal election has finally been confirmed for Saturday 2 July. We have an eight-week campaign, which means there should be at least two episodes of the Edict.

The mediascape will be filled with the usual commentary and mainstream punditry based on each day’s action. So for my own efforts, in podcasts or elsewhere, I intend to slow down and get outside that bubble.

What will this mean in practice? I don’t know yet. Watch this space.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • Mark Newton decided to preserve my rant about Senator James Paterson from Thursday night. I was angry that he’d asked a question in Senate Estimates about the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) spending $50,000 on a custom typeface, the answer to which he could have found by reading any news story on the topic. I’ll have more to say about that another time.
  • On Sunday, I was quoted in an article, My innovation is bigger than your innovation, by Ken Wolff at The Political Sword. It’s an interesting read, in which I play a tiny, tiny part.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be based at Wentworth Falls for most of the week, I believe, and it begins with a day off on Monday.

Remarkably, the rest of the week has no fixed appointments, but I’ve got plenty to do. There’s the usual writing for ZDNet and perhaps Crikey, the geek-for-hire work, and the neverending work to bring my tax affairs up to date. I’ll also have to lock in my podcast and election campaign plans. But I’ll be able to work on these things in the most comfortable order. This pleases me.

The weekend is similarly unplanned. Joy.

Further Ahead

On 24-27 May, I’m covering the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference on the Gold Coast. Apart from my usual conference coverage, once more I’ll be on the panel for the event’s closing Speed Debate.

[Photo: Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull announces the federal election on 8 May 2016. Screenshot from ABC News24.]

The Adult Hedgehog Onesie Bomber

Papua New Guinea suddenly remembers it’s not a colony any more and acts like a real nation. Nicholas Fryer makes some modest proposals. And there’s terror in the streets of Baltimore.

In this episode, there’s talk of hedgehogs and weasels, refugees and terrorism, and more.

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

Play

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.

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Approaching Sydney: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 25 April to Sunday 1 May 2016 was disrupted — not in that silly fashionable way, but in the traditional annoying way — by failing computer hardware and illness.

My MacBook Pro developed a screen fault, so I lost time moving my work to a loaner machine and organising repairs. Somewhere along the way I got what I presumed was food poisoning but which is clearly something else. Both patients are getting better, the silicon more quickly than the flesh.

The many edits to last week’s Weekly Wrap reflect all the plans made and discarded.

As a result…

Articles

None.

Podcasts

None. However an episode of The 9pm Edict is part-produced.

Media Appearances

  • On Tuesday, I spoke about all the cybers on ABC 774 Melbourne.
  • On Thursday night, I recorded some short videos on various information security topics for ZDNet, which will dribble out over the coming weeks.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

I’m back at Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains this week, or at least for most of it.

On Monday, I’m working on geek-for-hire tasks in the morning, and completing that episode of The 9pm Edict podcast in the afternoon and evening.

On Tuesday, I’m making the long commute down to Sydney to cover the inaugural National Fintech Cyber Security Summit. Tuesday night is federal Budget Night in Australia, so I’ll probably stay in Sydney to amuse myself with that rather than spend the evening on the train. Nah, that’s too long a day. I’ll do some bits and pieces in the Blue Mountains instead.

On Wednesday morning, I daresay I’ll be writing something. At midday, it’s my first progress check at the Black Dog Institute, three months into working on the dog of a different colour. I’ll probably have some news. Then I’ll collect my repaired MacBook Pro, and return to the Mountains.

The remainder of the week and the weekend are unplanned, but I know I’ll be writing for ZDNet and doing more geek-for-hire stuff in there somewhere.

Further Ahead

On 24-27 May, I’m covering the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference on the Gold Coast. Apart from my usual conference coverage, once more I’ll be on the panel for the event’s closing Speed Debate.

Update 2 May 2016: Edited to reflect changed plans for Tuesday.

[Photo: Approaching Sydney. A Qantas Boeing 737-800, I believe, on approach to Sydney airport (SYD) over the inner west suburb of Lilyfield on 25 April 2016.]

Don't be a cog in the machine: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 24 to Sunday 30 August 2015 was disrupted by dentistry. A filling broke, quite a large one, and I lost half a day of covering the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit. There were also budgetary impacts. Why do we have teeth?

There was some good news, however. My new MacBook Pro arrived, courtesy of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. Migrating everything to the new machine was seamless, and took just over two hours. I’ll report further on its performance in due course.

Articles

None, but I’ve done most of the work on a ZDNet column that will be posted on Monday.

Podcasts

None, but a new episode of The 9pm Edict will appear on Tuesday. I’ve already done a lot of the pre-production.

Media Appearances

  • On Wednesday morning, I spoke about telecommunications metadata on ABC 105.7 Darwin.
  • On Wednesday evening, I spoke about this very same subject at length on ABC 774 Melbourne, but I didn’t make a recording.

5at5

There were three editions of 5at5, on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday and Tuesday, I covered the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit at the Hilton Hotel Sydney, and there was plenty of food and drink. While I was there, Blue Coat gave me a 16GB thumb drive.

The Week Ahead

It’s the second of two weeks in Sydney, and it starts off hectic. On Monday, I have to finish a ZDNet column, scope out a server upgrade for a client, and complete The 9pm Edict podcast.

On Tuesday, I’ll organise the final technology purchases for The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, and write my bit for the ACCAN National Conference debate on Wednesday. Then at 2030 AEST that night, I’m talking about some recent tech stories on ABC 702 Sydney and Local Radio around NSW.

On Wednesday, I’ll actually be at the ACCAN National Conference, or at least in the afternoon for the panel discussion. The morning is likely to be spent catching up on various background tasks.

On Thursday, I’m writing a column for ZDNet, and turning my UTS lecture from April into a video.

On Friday, I’ll design and test my new podcast recording set-up. I’ll post a description once that’s done.

The weekend will see me not working at all, ideally. No, really.

Further Ahead

On Friday 11 September, I’ll be presenting my regular guest lecture at UTS. And then on Saturday 12 September, it’s the recording session for The 9pm Edict Public House Forum, with post-production to be done on the Sunday.

[Photo: Don’t be a cog in the machine, being graffiti photographed somewhere in Sydney on 29 July 2007.]

I’ve finally launched the Pozible crowdfunding campaign to get myself a replacement computer, The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. This chart shows the progress so far.

The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh final status image: click for Pozible project page

There’s plenty of information on the Pozible page. But if you want the full back story, check out the original announcement, and the follow-up post. An episode of The 9pm Edict podcast is in pieces on the dining room table, and will be assembled on Wednesday.

[Update 9 August 2015: As the graphic indicates, the campaign was successful, reaching 144% of its initial funding target. For further details, see the Updates on the Pozible page.]

To boldly go...: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 13 to Sunday 19 July 2015 continued the lack-of-productivity theme, alas. Mostly because my dying computer decided to die far more rapidly than it had been until now.

My sincere thanks go to Justin Clacherty for lending me a spare MacBook Pro until I can organise my own new machine. I’m pleased that the set-up and transfer of data to this “new” machine only took nine hours — well, plus the six hours it took to take a proper backup of the old machine, because it kept throwing errors.

That said, in the latter part of the week I did get quite a bit done on the Pozible crowdfunding campaign to pay for that replacement machine. That campaign should launch in the next few days.

And because I had to archive some data off the old computer — because it had a 750GB hard drive, whereas the loaner has a 500GB SSD — I was browsing through old photos and videos. This put me into a particularly reflective mood again on the weekend. I hope that some good will come of this, because having a properly-working computer again — and a fast one! — should provide another boost to my optimism.

Articles

Podcasts

None.

5at5

5at5 was still on hiatus this week.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday evening, I caught up with Leslie Nassar to discuss a SEKRIT project, and he bought me dinner.

The Week Ahead

I’m back in Wentworth Falls this coming week, and most of it hasn’t been mapped out yet. Still, I have a broad outline.

On Monday Tuesday, I’ll be submitting that Pozible project for approval, doing some shopping in Katoomba, and mapping out my writing commitments for the next few weeks. Now that I have a working computer again, I’ve got heaps of work to catch up with.

On Tuesday Wednesday, I’ll be completing a video to go with that Pozible project, which should launch that day. I’ll also be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast. I’ll delay the posting of both until Wednesday Thursday if the Pozible campaign doesn’t launch.

The rest of the week is a bit vague, but I know there’ll be a ZDNet column in there somewhere. And I’m guessing I’d better organise some other work as well.

Update 20 July 2015: Edited to slide nearly everything in the plan back a day, to reflect a Monday sickie.

[Photo: To boldly go…, being a small boat heading out into the fog of San Francisco Bay on 10 December 2010.]

Gasps of a dying computer: click to embiggenSome three weeks ago, I told you how my computer was dying, and crowdfunding would ensue. Then just two days ago I said that the crowdfunding was imminent. That too must change.

Yesterday morning I lost three hours to chasing various error messages. The week’s plans were ruined from day one.

Last night I stopped to think how the computer’s steadily degrading performance was affecting my productivity, and I went digging. The image at the top of the post shows just one species of frequent error message.

As I explain on the Flickr post:

For whatever reason, user interface (UI) updates get disabled — and stay disabled for seconds at a time. Signals just aren’t getting through, and I’ve seen them last for up to 20 seconds or more.

So the basic problem is that you click on something, or press a key on the keyboard, and there’s a delay. Then another one.

And that’s just one of several serious symptoms.

Trying to assemble the crowdfunding campaign — as well as all my other work — on the dying computer itself is a fool’s errand. And I have been that fool.

Fortunately, Justin Clacherty has a spare mid-2013 MacBook Pro with maxed-out processor and RAM specs, and he’s going to lend it to me while I organise things. The new current planned start for the crowdfunding campaign is during the week beginning 20 July. Wish me luck.

Wi-Fi: No hardware detectedMy week of Monday 6 to Sunday 12 July 2015 was the first of two weeks I’ll be spending in Sydney — but it wasn’t just the geography that made it unusual.

I had intended to get a Pozible crowdfunding campaign under way for The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, but I ended up doing quite a bit of work on the SEKRIT television project instead.

This is a Good Thing, because it’s fun and interesting work, and the pay is quite reasonable. But as the photo at the top of the post shows, my computer is dying fast. The Wi-Fi hardware fails regularly, and you can also make out the screen cracks. So that crowdfunding effort will have to happen quite soon. Like in the coming week.

Articles

Podcasts

None.

5at5

5at5 is on hiatus this week and next.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday evening, I went to Tanium’s open-house demo and drinks evening in Sydney, where of course there was free food and drink.

The Week Ahead

On Monday, I’ll be working on that crowdfunding campaign, as well as getting a haircut, and in the evening meeting with Leslie Nassar about yet another, different SEKRIT project.

On Tuesday, I’ll be doing further work on the crowdfunding project and, ideally, launching it. I’ll also be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, which may extend into Wednesday. Otherwise, Wednesday is likely to be a day of research and writing, before I wander to Oracle’s drinks evening in Surry Hills. Thursday is also a day of writing, ideally culminating in a column for ZDNet.

Friday and the weekend are as yet unplanned. However there are many, many things that need organising, so I daresay they’ll be quite full days. Stand by. Also, and and all of this schedule may be disrupted by urgent work on the SEKRIT television project.

Update 13 July 2015: Edited to add The Saturday Paper reference, and indicate the flexibility of the schedule.

[Photo: “Wi-Fi: No hardware detected”, being an increasingly common sight on my rapidly-disintegrating MacBook Pro.]

Photograph of MacBook Pro showing keyboard damage

The 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixelsMy computer is dying. It’s dying fast. It’s not going to make it much longer, and certainly not through to when I’ll be able to afford a replacement. I need your help.

Previously I’ve had success with my Pozible crowdfunding campaigns to resurrect The 9pm Edict podcast, and to get me to Breakpoint and Ruxcon. So in a few days from now I’ll be launching The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, a Pozible campaign based around a special podcast episode. The “rewards” for you contributions will help shape the content for that podcast.

Right now, I’m figuring out exactly how those rewards will work. After some discussion on Twitter last night, here’s what I’m thinking. Feedback please.

  • For $50 or whatever, a Two Minutes Hate. You choose the topic, and I’ll rant about it in the podcast for two minutes. The topic can be absolutely anything. Should snakes be equipped with legs? Why does Peter Dutton look like a cabbage? What are the best ways to remove bloodstains from a carpet?
  • For $100 or whatever, a Morning Glory. A wake-up call with a difference. I’ll phone you or your sleepy-headed friend at the appointed time — althogh I’m not sure how that can create podcast content, what with laws and stuff.
  • I had thought of offering to write and perform an erotic poem about a public figure of your choice. That’d cost. Pants-off extra.
  • @PointZeroOne suggested that one reward could allow you to nominate five question that I then put to a group of people in the pub. That one might be more expensive, because there’d be some work to do, and drinks to buy.

People have asked whether Rewards could be combined. An erotic poem as a wake-up call? Sure, why not?

The initial Pozible project goal will be whatever a new mid-high MacBook Pro plus AppleCare would be, plus a backup drive, plus costs. Stretch goals would be to up the specs of that machine, and then add cameras and microphones or whatever to improve my kit.

What I’d like from you right now are your ideas and comments on Pozible rewards and stretch goals.

Just comment below, or tweet at me, email me, or drive out and personally discuss them with me. No, actually, don’t do that last one. Comments close at 1400 AEST this Friday 26 June. I’ll then set up the Pozible project, which should go live early next week in the week commencing 13 June in the week commencing 20 June.

Oh, and if you were wondering what’s wrong the computer, specifically…

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