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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.]

Angry Beanie logoA curious article claiming that We are in the final years of our internet — I disagree — led to a conversation on Twitter which led, in turn, to me appearing on a podcast.

The podcast in question was in James Purser’s series Purser Explores the World, and the episode was entitled Tomorrow’s Geek.

I ended up talking about my path into geekery via an interest in the space program, railways, and the Angle Park Computing Centre; old-school programming styles; my thoughts on how the internet is changing power relationships; my opinion of consumer pseudo-geeks; how future geeks will be hacking DNA and drones, and other stuff.

Also appearing in this episode are network engineer Mark Newton and notable geek Liz Quilty.

Play

That audio is precisely as posted by Mr Purser, i.e. I haven’t turned it into my usual Conversations format.

Monday 12 to Sunday 18 November 2012 was another week dominated by travel — this time returning from Singapore on Monday, spending almost two days in Sydney, then heading to Coffs Harbour on the mid-north coast of NSW through until Saturday.

This is also another week where you just get the facts of the media objects I produced. Heck, if you really want to know what’s happening in my world then follow my Twitter stream.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 163, “The law and technology behind Australia’s internet filtering”. Conversations with David Vaile, director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of New South Wales, and high-profile network engineer Mark Newton.

Articles

Two more articles were written as well, but they won’t appear until the coming week.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday I flew back from Singapore, ending my trip there that was covered by Verizon Enterprise Solutions. This was all detailed last week. Related stories have yet to appear.
  • On Tuesday I attended the launch of VMware’s Cloud Index, which was a lunch at Sydney’s new QT Hotel. This is what happened to the old State Theatre and Gowings buildings. They paid, obviously. Again, related stories have yet to appear.
  • Wednesday through Friday I attended Flexibility 2012, the local government IT conference in Coffs Harbour that was organised by the Coffs Harbour City Council. Technically this isn’t largesse, because I spoke at the conference and wasn’t paid an appearance fee. I’ll post the audio of that presentation and an annotated transcript some time in the next few days. Nevertheless I’ll record the fact that they covered flights to and from Sydney, two nights accommodation at the conference venue, Opal Cove Resort, plus food and drink. [Update 20 November 2012: They also gave me some local produce as a gift, a jar of Valley of the Mist macadamia nut chutney.]

The Week Ahead

The week ahead is annoyingly unplanned. I had intended to go to Melbourne on Wednesday for the 5th birthday party of Business Spectator, parent of Technology Spectator, a masthead for which I write. But it’s looking like my cashflows won’t be good for that.

So, I’m going to map out the week in detail tomorrow, Monday. I’ll do a supplementary blog post then.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour from the air, taken from Qantas flight QF2117 yesterday. The image isn’t the sharpest, and neither does it have the best colour grading, because it was shot through both the plane window and the arc of the spinning propeller. But at least it gives a small flavour of the magnificent view.]

My week Monday 30 July to Sunday 5 August 2012 was dominated by the insanity involved in cloning hard drives and restoring my backup system to good working order.

Doing all of this over USB 2.0 interfaces was not helpful, but they were the only ports I had available on the loaner MacBook I’ve been using. Remember, I’m nomadic and quite often 100km from Sydney.

And then my backup drive failed…

Creating a new Time Machine backup of around 450GB of data takes 6 to 7 hours. Encrypting a 1TB drive takes nearly 23 hours. Even zeroing out a 750GB drive takes 5 hours.

And whenever you make a mistake, or a drive throws an error, you have to start that process again.

It’s been a wonderful lesson in patience. See, that’s the positive angle. Sigh.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 148, “The politics of data retention”. It’s in the news because it’s one of the ideas being floated as part of the inquiry into potential reforms of national security legislation being conducted by the Joint Parliamentary Committee on Intelligence and Security. The podcast includes Assistant Commissioner Neil Gaughan, national manager of high tech crime operations for the Australian Federal Police; Bernard Keane, Canberra corresponded with Crikey; and network engineer Mark Newton.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Monday I did a spot on ABC 105.7 Darwin with a couple of other people about overly-busy lifestyles, but the internet stream from which I was recording it was dodgy so I haven’t posted the audio.
  • On Tuesday night I did another regular Balls Radio spot, but I didn’t record it. That’s probably for the best, it was rather disjointed.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

I’m returning to Wentworth Falls on Monday, and have a day trip to Sydney on Thursday. In theory it’s a steady-paced week of writing. We shall see.

[Photo: Blue, being a photo of Wentworth Falls railway station on Thursday afternoon, one of the few bright spots in the week.]

Early this morning, Australia’s Minister for Privacy Brendan O’Connor announced that the government will start a public consultation into whether Australia should have a statutory right to privacy.

The media release was emailed at 6.26am AEST, a clear sign that it was a calm, reasoned decision made as part of a long-term government strategy. Sorry? No? Read the release?

“The News of the World scandal and other recent mass breaches of privacy, both at home and abroad, have put the spotlight on whether there should be such a right.”

The Australian Law Reform Commission’s recommendation for such a law has been sitting on the table for three years now. But hey, something in the news cycle triggers a potential “announceable” and… disco!

Right then.

I’ve already written straight news stories today for CSO Online, Australia to consider right-to-privacy law and Watchdogs welcome Australia’s right-to-privacy move. I’ll be writing about the timing thing tomorrow for ABC’s The Drum.

Right now, though, I have one question. It’s a question I’ve asked before, but I was reminded by something Mark Newton said earlier this evening.

How come we don’t see such sudden action, ever, when is comes to giving Australians a statutory right to freedom of speech?

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. Last week was busy enough, but this week was even busier. Something’s gotta give.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 94, “ISP filtering goes ‘voluntary'”. Even though Australia’s controversial mandatory internet filtering program is at least two years away from being implemented, internet service providers will soon start filtering child exploitation material on a voluntary basis. My guests are Peter Black, who teaches internet and media law at the Queensland University of Technology; Network engineer Mark Newton; Lyle Shelton, chief of staff of the Australian Christian Lobby.

Articles

Media Appearances

Two radio spots this week, and a guest appearance on someone else’s podcast.

Corporate Largesse

None. I am reliably informed that the drought will be broken next week.

Elsewhere

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. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: A misty dawn at Bunjaree Cottages, 1 July 2011. This is the view from Roselle Cottage, not normally rented to the punters. The much-battered camera in my phone does not do this scene justice.]

Australia’s mandatory internet filter is at least two years away, but Telstra and Optus are only weeks from implementing their “voluntary” equivalents. Where are we up to with this controversial issue?

That’s what I covered in yesterday’s Patch Monday podcast for ZDNet Australia. And as I explained on the weekend, I’m returning to my habit of doing a blog post here for each episode.

For this internet filtering update, I spoke with Peter Black, who teaches internet and media law at the Queensland University of Technology; network engineer Mark Newton; and Lyle Shelton, chief of staff for the Australian Christian Lobby.

You can listen below. But it’s probably better for my stats if you listen at ZDNet Australia or subscribe to the RSS feed or subscribe in iTunes.

Since this podcast was recorded, we’ve discovered that Primus isn’t so sure about voluntary filtering any more. They were the third ISP to commit to the plan last year. However the Internet Industry Association (IIA) has said most Australian ISPs will filter via the Interpol list this year.

Previous podcast on this issue covered the meaning of the Refused Classification content category, Senator Conroy’s announcement of the strategy in July 2010, and the apparent fact that parents don’t act on their cybersafety fears.

Please let me know what you think. Comments below. We accept audio comments too. Either Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets — very late this week because I just couldn’t be arsed doing blog posts while I was in San Francisco. But here’s the summary of last week. On Wednesday. So I’ll refund your goddam subscription fees.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 68, “Wikileaks: the survival lessons”. A panel discussion with network engineer Mark Newton — he described WikiLeaks as “a bespoke cloud-based CDN [content distribution network] that is enabled by the Streisand Effect” — information security specialist Crispin Harris, and platform architect Benno Rice.

Media Appearances

None. What wrong with you people?

Corporate Largesse

Where do you start? This week was all about me travelling to San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.com. So they paid my airfares, accommodation, food and drink throughout the event, and “networking functions” at the W Hotel and the Palace Hotel. Plus they gave me a Flip HD video camera, a scarf, a t-shirt, a universal power plug thingy and a can of whipped cream. Don’t ask.

Elsewhere

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. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: A comparison of real American men with the idealised version portrayed in advertising in a storefront on Market St, San Francisco.]

Crikey logo

Just when you thought you’d covered every possible angle… Wow, what a packed week for Senator Stephen Conroy, eh?

I’m in Crikey today with a piece they’ve entitled Conroy’s really bad week #347: Classification Board website hacked. Which it was. And what a lovely new welcome message they had.

This site contains information about the boards that have the right to CONTROL YOUR FREEDOMZ. The Classification Board has the right to not just classify content (the name is an ELABORATE TRICK), but also the right to DECIDE WHAT IS AND ISNT APPROPRIATE and BAN CONTENT FROM THE PUBLIC. We are part of an ELABORATE DECEPTION from CHINA to CONTROL AND SHEEPIFY the NATION, to PROTECT THE CHILDREN. All opposers must HATE CHILDREN, and therefore must be KILLED WITH A LARGE MELONS during the PROSECUTION PARTIES IN SEPTEMBER. Come join our ALIEN SPACE PARTY.

I also offer some comments on Senator Conroy’s performance on ABC TV’s Q&A last night. You can watch the video for yourself, but I reckon he performed poorly.

Read the rest of this entry »

Crikey logo

[This article was originally published in Crikey on Tuesday 17 February, but behind the paywall. I think enough time has passed for it to sneak out — particularly as one commenter called it “the most unworthy article Crikey has ever published”. Thanks.]

Cool newcomer. Rising talent. That’s Greens Senator Scott Ludlam as described by Crikey’s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane last year. He’s right, too.

Yesterday [Monday] I explained how Senator Stephen Conroy popped out of his lair, announced (some of) the ISPs in the internet “filtering” trials, and scurried away — leaving everyone’s questions unanswered. Perhaps he hoped the story would be buried by discussions of bushfires and the stimulus package. But no.

In an op-ed piece for ABC News yesterday, Senator Ludlam nailed why. “The interwebs never sleep,” he reminds us.

Within minutes of Conroy’s 5.25pm media release, Twitter was, well, a’twitter with speculation and then analysis. Within hours, without any central control, a consensus emerged about what the choice of ISPs meant. With its focus on small business-oriented ISPs, the trials won’t reflect the realities of home internet usage, and the government can string out the process just a little bit longer.

“Senator Conroy is trapped by something akin to a virtual hydra,” writes Ludlam.

Read the rest of this entry »

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