Talking #activatedalmonds on Balls Radio

I was so irritated with the idiot pseudo-science being peddled by “TV chef” Pete Evans last weekend that I went beyond helping turn the #activatedalmonds hashtag into a thing. I also made it the topic for my regular spot on Phil Dobbie’s Balls Radio this week.

I won’t write any more about it. It’ll make me cranky. Just listen.

If you’d like more Balls Radio, have a listen to the full episode. You can subscribe over at the website.

Weekly Wrap 104: Worms, smartphones and television

My week from Monday 28 May to Sunday 3 June 2012 was complex, busy and stressful, yet there were also some memorable highlights.

I won’t be telling you anything about the latter.

I will say that spending the night in six different locations in one week is probably stress-inducing.


  • Patch Monday episode 140, “Cybercrime: it’s just too easy”, the second of two episodes based on material recorded at the AusCERT 2012 information security conference. AusCERT general manager Graham Ingram explains why cybercrime is here to stay, and F-Secure chief research officer Mikko Hypponen details a complex transnational criminal operation that saw goods bought fraudulently in Denmark being resold in Moscow, as well giving his views on hacktivism and the level to which antivirus companies should cooperate with governments.


Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday I attended the launch of the Samsung Galaxy S III smartphone at the Sydney’s Capitol Theatre, where I was given food and drink — and later a review unit of said smartphone.
  • Even though I didn’t go paintballing with Eugene Kaspersky last week, I still got the media pack from Kaspersky Lab. The army-style khaki satchel contained: a t-shirt emblazoned with my callsign “Seagull 17”; a packet of Austcam “Paint, face, camouflage NSN 6850-66-130-0172”; blank dog tags attacked to a Kaspersky-branded USB memory key, containing the media kit of course; a Mars Bar 2-pack; and a can of V, that terribly dangerous drink that should be banned, which I gave away.

The Week Ahead

Monday, as always, is a busy day of media production as well as the discussion I’m leading in Katoomba, Surviving and thriving as a freelancer in a globalised market. And it’s a Full Moon, so that’ll help.

The rest of the week will be easier, in theory — at least as far as work goes — and I even hope to spend Friday with a friend and then head to Sydney as an early start to the Queen’s Birthday long weekend.

I’d originally intended to be in Sydney on Tuesday evening. Intel has a launch event for their 3rd Generation Core processor chips. But to be honest I find it difficult to excited by new widgets — they’re faster and better that the previous widgets, right? — so I think I’ll give it a miss. Plus at the start of a new month no-one has yet paid for last month’s work, so it’s hard to justify the expense — especially since I’ll be paying for accommodation away from Bunjaree Cottages for the long weekend.


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) and via Instagram. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags. Yes, I should probably update this stock paragraph to match the current reality.

[Photo: Sydney’s Saturday night fashion. These young women were spotted alighting at Wynyard station, Sydney, around 11.30pm Saturday night. While I’m obviously no fashion guru, I think it’s fair to say that this look does not flatter them. What made it worse was that neither of the women were steady with their operation of those heels. As they walked down the platform there was considerable swaying and undulation. And it didn’t seem to be because they were drunk. Can someone explain to me when undergarments became acceptable Saturday night partywear? I want to say something about yellow and black being the colours of warning, but I’d better not.]

iSpy: Talking total surveillance at Sydney Writers’ Festival

Here’s the complete audio recording of last weekend’s panel discussion iSpy at the Sydney Writer’s Festival with Tommy Tudehope, me and moderator Marc Fennell.

Even before Google controversially demolished the privacy walls between its various products, we were already living in the total surveillance society. With every keystroke we are voluntarily telling companies, governments and heaven knows who else an awful lot about ourselves. Should we be worried about the uses to which this information could be put?

The panel was originally inspired by my Sydney Morning Herald op-ed You are what you surf, buy or tweet, and I thought we’d also talk about some of the issues I raised in my more recent ZDNet Australia story The Facebook experiment.

But we covered a lot more, including research by Sophos that showed around 50% of people would automatically befriend anyone on Facebook, the progress of the Cybercrime Legislation Amendment Bill and the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime, the fact that The Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam seems to be the only Australian politician paying attention to this stuff, using TOR to help make your web browsing anonymous, the surveillance policy split between the NSA and FBI, anonymous currencies like Bitcoin and Canada’s MintChip, Electronic Frontiers Australia, the Pirate Party Australia, Georgie Guy’s blog, and data mining company Acxiom — which in the recording you’ll hear me misspell as “Axxiom”.

The recording was made using my Zoom H4n sitting mid-way between me and Mr Tudehope, so Mr Fennell is off in the distance somewhat. But at least we have a recording.

If there are any issues you’d like to follow up, well, please post a comment.