Weekly Wrap 296: And now everything changes, again…

Sunrise at Bronte Beach: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 1 to Sunday 7 February 2016 has been very different. Not merely different from a typical Australian’s experience, like last week, but different from even my own smorgasbord of experiences.

It began on Monday with the stress of negotiating certain timelines with the Australian Taxation Office (ATO). That was successful, and I was much relieved — although I still have to meet those deadlines in the coming months.

Then Wednesday provided another emotional journey, I’ll call it, with my visit to the Black Dog Institute and the resulting diagnosis.

After all that, I was exhausted.

So even though I achieved two significant milestones right there, when it came to producing the kinds of things I usually list here…

Articles / Podcasts / Media Appearances / 5at5

… there were none.

I did kick off another new geek-for-hire project on Thursday, however, so there’s that. I’ll tell you more about that, and the other projects, in due course.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Friday, I received a package of American snack food — Chex Mix, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, Caramel Corn, and the like — from networking vendor Brocade to consume during this weekend’s Super Bowl. Why? Because Brocade did the data networks in Levi’s Stadium.

It’s still only Saturday as I post this, but Sunday 7 February will be a lazy day, so let’s get straight into…

The Week Ahead

It’s going to be a busy one, boys and girls. No, this time it really will be.

On Monday, I’ll be doing the long commute to Sydney for a medical appointment, and to get a haircut. I’ll be dealing with tax documentation and project management en route.

Tuesday will be a quiet one, pottering around the house, and dealing with all manner of loose ends.

The rest of the week is shaped around the Pause Fest in Melbourne.

On Wednesday, I’m catching the 0543 train down to Sydney and then Sydney Airport. At 0900, it’s flight VA824 to Melbourne. Once I’ve checked in to my hotel, I’ll be having lunch with someone. The afternoon is as yet unplanned. The Pause Fest opening party is in the evening, but I need to have an early night. So instead, I’ meeting a friend for drinks, with a break to do a radio spot on ABC 774 Melbourne at 1930 AEDT.

On Thursday, I’m up early to do a spot on ABC TV’s News Breakfast. I think it’s at 0810 AEDT. I’m then spending the rest of the day at Pause Fest’s Tech Day, presumably covering it for ZDNet. I’m on the panel at 1730 AEDT, titled “The security paradox: individual privacy vs digital driftnets”, after which I’m having drinks with some people, and then dinner with someone else.

On Friday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet, then at 1300 it’s lunch in the Melbourne CBD or thereabouts with Andy Nicholson and anyone else who wants in. The afternoon is as yet unplanned. At 2000 it’s Pause Fest’s Speakers Dinner, for speakers only, so you can’t come.

On Saturday, well, I’m open to suggestions for how to spend the morning, and where to have lunch. I’ll then leave for the airport at 1430, and catch my 1600 flight VA859 to Sydney. I’ll probably then catch the train to Wentworth Falls that night, but we’ll see.

Either way, Sunday will be a day of sloth. A very big sloth.

Further Ahead

I suspect that the much-delayed episode of The 9pm Edict podcast will eventually be recorded on Tuesday 16 February, or the day after.

Plans are being hatched for me to return to Melbourne two weeks after that, to cover the APIdays conference on 1-2 March. We shall see. Either way, it’s more than likely that I’ll be in Melbourne 8-11 March for Cisco LIVE!, assuming they’ll have me again.

[Photo: Sunrise at Bronte Beach. For several years, it was my habit to photograph the first sunrise of each new year. Here, the sun rises out of the Pacific Ocean at Bronte Beach, Sydney, on 1 January 2005.]

Weekly Wrap 280: Hacking, Melbourne, productivity returns

Lumpy Weather: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 12 to Sunday 18 October 2015 was a marked return to productivity — despite a severe lack of sleep along the way.

Apart from generating three quite adequate articles, and recording plenty of audio for future projects, I also made some excellent contacts at the Australian Information Security Association (AISA) National Conference and elsewhere, and certain geekery went pretty much to plan.

I was especially pleased that the Pozible campaign Send Stilgherrian To Ruxcon 2015 was fully funded. I’ll have more to say about that on Monday.


I also recorded an interview with Joe Franzi, Assistant Secretary Cyber Security with the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), Australia’s equivalent to the US National Security Agency (NSA). It’s the first recorded interview he’s ever done in that role, and it’ll turn into an article for ZDNet on Monday. The full audio will appear in due course. Stand by.


None, but a new episode of The 9pm Edict will appear on Tuesday.

I’ve also been commissioned to produce an episode of ABC Radio National’s Future Tense, which will appear in late November.

Media Appearances

  • On Friday, I was interviewed for a story looking at the future of technology for ABC Online, which will appear some time in the coming week.


There’s still nothing from 5at5, and that continues to be terrible. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones when they eventually appear?

Corporate Largesse

  • The AISA conference obviously included plenty of free food and drink.
  • My travel and accommodation for that Melbourne trip was covered by Tanium.
  • Michael McKinnon, social media and security awareness director with AVG Technologies AU Pty Ltd, was generous with the hospitality too.

The Week Ahead

It’s another busy week ahead. On Monday, I’m dealing with administrative loose ends, and at 1600 AEDT being a guest for the recording of Mark Pesce’s podcast TWISTA – This Week in Startups Australia, before finally returning to the Blue Mountains some time on Tuesday.

On Tuesday Wednesday, I’m doing the shopping in Katoomba, and wrapping up starting on another episode of The 9pm Edict. But mostly, it’ll be spent writing for ZDNet.

Wednesday is a day off.

On Thursday, I’m writing for ZDNet, before heading into Sydney for the evening. Once there, I’ll complete the podcast, I’ll waste much of the day tying up idioti lcoose ends.

Friday starts extremely early, waking at 0230 to pack and catch the 0358 train to Sydney in time for my 0715 AEDT flight to Melbourne. The rest of the day will be spent catching up with various people, and doing some location scouting in a stupor of tiredness, before some sort of drinks and dinner thing with a few people.

Saturday and Sunday will be spent covering Ruxcon, another of Australia’s key information security conferences. This will include recording material for Corrupted Nerds as well as Future Tense.

Further Ahead

On Monday and Tuesday 26-27 October, I’ll still be in Melbourne doing various things. That includes a Monday night radio spot on ABC 774 Melbourne at 1930 AEDT.

Update 19 October 2015: Edited to reflect a change of plans. Update 20 October 2015: Edited to reflect further change to the plan. Update 25 October 2015: Edited once more to reflect continuing change.

[Photo: Lumpy Weather, photographed from seat 29A of VA830 on 13 October 2015.]

Weekly Wrap 250: Melbourne abbreviated, and derp

VH-VUE touches down in Melbourne: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 16 to Sunday 22 March 2015 didn’t quite go to plan, but the changes were mostly just irritations.

As mentioned last week, I had planned to stay on in Melbourne for a few days, but a closer look at the budget made it clear that wasn’t possible. And then my return flight on Thursday was delayed, for two reasons. One, Melbourne Airport’s air traffic control tower was evacuated for some reason, putting a spanner in the works. Two, just as my plane was finally about to leave, a passenger fell ill, and we had to wait until an ambulance arrived.

Still, I gathered plenty of information in Melbourne, and bits and pieces of it will turn up in various writings on the coming weeks.



None. The next episode of The 9pm Edict will be on Tuesday 24 March.


There were only two editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday and Wednesday. The gap in the early part of the week was because I was busy, and in the latter part of the week because I had trouble getting a clean data link to TinyLetter for some reason. You should subscribe, you know.

Media Appearances


Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

It’s going to be another busy one, at least in the first half of the week.

On Monday, I’ll be doing most of the production for an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, as well as the laundry, as well as administrivia.

On Tuesday, I’ll be taking the train to Sydney for a lunchtime briefing by Oracle on the cloud and big data. I’m wondering if anything has actually changed with them things. I’ll also be preparing my entries for the IT Journalism Awards, also known as The Lizzies, and dealing with a few errands.

On Wednesday, I’m heading in to Sydney again for the Rewind/Fast Forward conference. The program seems interesting, and I think I’ll ge getting plenty of usable material there too.

On Thursday and Friday, I’ll be writing a column for ZDNet Australia, writing something else, and working on the much-delayed ebook — though I haven’t locked those activities into specific timeslots yet.

The weekend is unplanned, but Saturday will of course include the NSW state election.

[Photo: VH-VUE touches down in Melbourne. VH-VUE is a Boeing 737 Next Gen, and on 17 March 2015 it was flying Virgin Australia flight VA834 SYD-MEL. While it was a rainy day, most of the vertical streaks in this image are from the crinkled window treatment.]

Talking Heartbleed on ABC 774 Melbourne, ABC 720 Perth

ABC logoAnother day, another Heartbleed-related radio spot. This one was on ABC Radio 774 Melbourne, 720 Perth, and local stations throughout Victoria and Western Australia.

This conversation with presenter Prue Bentley was a straightforward explainer. It contains the current state of play in terms of what we believe, so if you only want to listen to one then make it this one. Unless there’s a more recent one on the site somewhere.


The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Weekly Wrap 195: Melbourne and many expenses

Melbourne skyline: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 24 February to Sunday 2 March 2014 was largely spent in Melbourne and Sydney. Both cities proved more or less enjoyable. And then I spent the weekend in a rainy Wentworth Falls.

While the Melbourne trip was primarily for the Intel event detailed below, I also caught up with various geekfolk and managed to combine work-related conversations with excellent food and drink. May I draw your attention to the Cookie Beer Hall, Whiskey & Alement, the Shark Fin Inn in Chinatown, and the Red Emperor Chinese Restaurant at Southbank.

I paid for all those things. It was more expensive than I’d planned. I don’t know how the lesser people can afford it, but there seemed to be so many of them in these venues.


I’ve also been working on a 1500-word piece for the Walkley Foundation magazine that’ll be published in May.

Media Appearances


Uhoh. The whole thing collapsed. Sorry. I’ll revive the poor little thing in the coming week. Promise.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday I went to Intel’s mixed-bag event in Melbourne, which combined briefings on their new Xeon E7 v2 Server processors, their vision for the future of workplace collaboration and how they’re implementing it themselves — I’ll be writing about that at some point — a look at a new project at NAB, and a rather fine three-hour lunch at Bistro Vue. Intel paid for my flights to Melbourne, airport transfers, and one night’s accommodation at the Crowne Plaza Melbourne — that last item being their sensible alternative to me having to catch the 0513 train into Sydney to catch a 0830 flight.

The Week Ahead

Monday is mostly about planning my media work, writing something for ZDNet Australia, and finishing off the article for the Walkley Foundation.

Through the rest of the week week I’ll be writing another piece for ZDNet Australia, one for Technology Spectator, making sure 5at5 returns to schedule, and figuring out what to do about the loose ends from my Pozible project.

The last is particularly embarrassing, because I’ve simply failed to deliver some of the products. I’ll have to figure out some alternative plan to make good.

I’ll be in Sydney on Wednesday and Thursday, staying overnight. In Wednesday there’s a lunchtime briefing by WatchGuard Technologies, and on Thursday I’m meeting with people from the Slovak infosec firm ESET.

I’m supposed to be in Sydney again on Saturday for an important social event. I’m not quite sure how I’ll plan my movements around that.

[Photo: Melbourne skyline, 26 February 2014.]

Talking Facebook’s decline, maybe, on ABC 774 Melbourne

ABC logoIs Facebook on the decline? For some reason or other, I ended up talking about that on the radio on Monday afternoon.

The reason was actually this story in The Australian about “Facebook fatigue”. While I’m not sure that Facebook fatigue is a thing, I had a pleasant chat with journalist and presenter Raf Epstein — and here’s the audio.


The audio is of course ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, archived here because it isn’t being archived anywhere else.