new year

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The pantograph of a TrainLink NSW V-Set train standing at Sydney Central station.

My week of Monday 7 to Sunday 13 January 2019 was another mostly quiet one, continuing a lovely lazy start to the new year. Delight. And needed.

I’m not sure about the continuing thunderstorms and subtropical maritime weather, though. I think we’ve fucked something up.

On Wednesday I went down to the Black Dog Institute in Sydney to take part in some Science. I’ll tell you more about that in a future podcast, or something.

Articles, Podcasts, Corporate Largesse

I eventually finished the final draft of that policy paper on encryption for that American organisation. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not sure when or even if this will be made public, as opposed to being used internally. I’ll let you know.

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The Week Ahead

Monday is my first official work day for 2019. I’m expecting it to kick off with administrivia and communications and planning — especially the planning, because I’ve been a bit slack about that.

I’m keeping the rest of the week open at this stage, although I’ll almost certainly be down in Sydney on Wednesday again for some health-related things. I’ll also formally start on the podcast schedule.

Further Ahead

While I haven’t begun mapping out the short-term plan, I’m starting to pencil in some of the conferences. This is a very partial list at this stage, only the dates I know.

Please let me know if there’s anything I should add to the list.

[Photo: Energy. The pantograph of a TrainLink NSW V-Set train standing at Sydney Central station, photographed on 7 December 2018.]

Great Western Highway in the Mists

My week of Monday 31 December 2018 to Sunday 6 January 2019 was a relatively quiet start to the new year. I am more than happy with this.

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Nothing public in any of these categories, but I did finish the first draft of that policy paper on encryption for an American organisation. I’m not sure when or even if this will be made public, as opposed to being used internally. I’ll let you know.

The Week Ahead

The week starts with me producing the final version of that policy paper by Tuesday evening my time, and then drifts into some planning for 2019. I’ll also start producing the best-of series of The 9pm Edict podcast, I think, though that will be late in the week.

I’m talking about how weather apps track your location on ABC Melbourne on Tuesday morning at 0930 AEDT.

I’ll be down in Sydney on Wednesday for a bit of science at the Black Dog Institute, as well as getting a haircut and stuff like that.

Further Ahead

Still no idea. I haven’t even begun mapping it out yet.

[Photo: Great Western Highway in the Mists. The scene from the window of a train somewhere between Bullaburra and Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, photographed on 21 December 2018. I was originally going to use this photo last week, but then the weather turned hot and it seemed inappropriate. It turned cool and wet again over the weekend just gone. Weather, eh?]

New Years Sunrise 2004My week of Monday 2 to Sunday 8 January 2017 was slow, just like the previous week. There shall be no details.

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None this week either, although I did start writing a column for ZDNet that’ll be posted on Monday.

The Week Ahead

It’s my first proper work week of 2017, so it’ll start on Monday with some planning and scheduling and administrivia, as well as finishing that ZDNet column. The rest of the week will unfold as it should. Let’s not be too ambitious, OK?

Beyond That

The next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast is currently scheduled for Tuesday 17 Thursday 19 January at 2100 AEDT. It’ll be streamed live from, and the tentative title is “The 9pm End of the World, Probably”.

I’ll be covering the RSA Information Security Conference in San Francisco on 13 to 16 February; the APRICOT 2017 / APNIC43 conference in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, at the end of February and into early March; and the Australian Cyber Security Centre (ACSC) conference in Canberra on 14 to 16 March.

Update 16 January 2017: Edited to reflect change to podcast recording schedule.

[Photo: New Years Sunrise 2004. A few years ago it was our tradition to photograph the sunrise on New Years Day at Bronte Beach in Sydney. This is one of the images from 2004.]

Ducks on the Parramatta River: click to embiggenMonday 4 to Sunday 10 January 2016 was a reminder that the world, and especially the humans that infect it, move to their own natural cycles and patterns. It’s easier to move in rhythm with these than try to work against them, for better or for worse.

Australia shuts down between Christmas and New Year, yes. But despite the claims that we now live in a 24/7 ever-on ever-connected cycle, the reality is that much of Australia still operates to its traditional annual cycle. Shut down just before Christmas, operate in summer holiday mode through to Australia Day on 26 January.

You just have to face the fact that nothing substantial can get done in the first week of January, and that you’ll have trouble getting up to speed on any substantial projects right through to the end of the month.

Individual humans have their own patterns and habits as well, and it’s also tough to change them. You can’t teach a duck to dance, they say. But when the duck is smarter and more stubborn than you are, what hope can there be?

So it with those observations that I introduce this week’s humble list of achievements, and note a few of the necessary changes to The Plan.




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None. But should 5at5 eventually reappear, you’ll know about it if you subscribe.

Corporate Largesse

None. The year has not yet started.

The Week Ahead

It’s another week at Wentworth Falls, and broadly speaking it’ll be much the same as its predecessor — but with achievements rather than distractions. He says boldly.

What’s definite is that the next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast will be recorded on Thursday night 14 January, streamed live through Spreaker from 2100 AEDT.

I’ll also be making a day trip to Sydney for a medical appointment at some point. I won’t know when that will be until Monday. That’ll be on Wednesday. I’ll have plenty of free time during the day, so if we need to catch up then let me know.

Apart from that, I’ll continue to work on designing a website and a matching email template for a client; writing that episode of The 9pm Edict; updating some of the stuff I use to explain what it is that I actually do; typing up the loose ends from my crowdfunding projects; thinking about my future accommodation needs; and bringing my bookkeeping up to date so I can file five years of outstanding tax returns.

Further Ahead

On 10 to 12 February, I’ll be in Melbourne for the Pause Fest. I’m on a panel on Thursday 11 titled “The security paradox: individual privacy vs digital driftnets”. I’ll be staying in Melbourne until Saturday. If you’d like to catch up, let me know.

I’ve dumped plans to go to Geelong to cover in the first week of February. Sorry, but I need to keep that week flexible and close to Sydney for personal reasons.

For the same reason, my bold intention to record The 9pm Edict’s Public House Forum on Saturday 23 January is also dumped. I need a clearer plan for what I’m actually doing with my various podcasts. They can’t just be an indulgent drain on my time, and despite the inexplicable generosity of those who’ve been supporting me, the numbers don’t quite add up yet. Stand by for more thoughts about that in the not-too-distant future.

Some things that remain on The Plan include Tech Leaders in Leura on 13-14 March; the Australian Cyber Security Centre Conference in Canberra on 12-14 April; NetSuite’s SuiteWorld in San Jose on 16-19 May; the AusCERT Conference on the Gold Coast on 24-27 May; the Gartner Security & Risk Management Summit in Sydney on 22-23 August; and the AISA National Conference in Sydney on 18-20 October.

What else should I add to that list?

Apart from anything else, the first thing I notice about it is that nearly everything is in Australia. Have my horizons contracted?

Update 11 January 2016: Edited to reflect minor schedule changes.

[Photo: Ducks on the Parramatta River, photographed on 15 September 2012. I spent quite a lot of time watching these ducks on the banks for Sydney’s Parramatta river that spring afternoon before they’d finally had enough of me, formed convoy, and departed.]

Sydney Sunrise from Lilyfield: click to embiggenMonday 28 December 2015 to Sunday 3 January 2016 was spent in the Sydney suburbs of Ashfield and Lilyfield, where the quiet week following Christmas heralded a new year that should see many, many changes.

I hope so, anyway, because I’ve got plenty of things to sort out. I’ll tell you more in due course.


  • “The 9pm Topsy Turnbull Land”, being the rather brief The 9pm Edict episode 55, was recorded and posted on New Year’s Eve. It’s also on SoundCloud and Spreaker.



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Corporate Largesse

  • I arrived back at Bunjaree Cottages tonight to find a Christmas gift from Kaspersky Lab: a bottle of Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz 2013.

The Week Ahead

I’ve got plenty to do in the coming week, but I won’t be able to schedule everything until I make some calls on Monday. I do know that most of it will be spent at Wentworth Falls, however.

That said, the week’s tasks include designing a website and a matching email template for a client; booking some medical appointments in Sydney; writing for ZDNet; scriptwriting for the next episode of The 9pm Edict; planning my coverage of; updating some of the stuff I use to explain what it is that I actually do; starting to tie up the loose ends from my crowdfunding projects; thinking about my future accommodation needs; and starting to bring my bookkeeping up to date so I can file five years of outstanding tax returns.

Further Ahead

The next episode of The 9pm Edict will be recorded on Thursday 14 January 2015, streamed live starting at 2100 AEDT.

The next episode of The 9pm Edict’s Public House Forum is likely to be recorded on the afternoon of Saturday 23 January. I’m thinking this should be a monthly thing.

In theory, in the first week of February I’ll be in Geelong to cover And then on 10 to 12 February, I’ll be in Melbourne to speak at the Pause Fest.

Update 2000 AEDT: Edited to add the wine. Update 6 January 2015: Edited to reflect dropping plans to go to

[Photo: Sydney Sunrise from Lilyfield, photographed on 2 January 2016.]

PM responds to trade union royal commission s final report

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Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is the savour of the trade union movement, apparently. Indeed, it looks like Turnbull is laying out the groundwork and strategy for an early election in the new year.

In this abbreviated New Year’s Eve episode of The 9pm Edict, there’s talk of Soapy’s bookshelves, alcohol, and not a lot else, really.

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.


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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Sydney skyline, 30 December 2014: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 29 December 2014 to Sunday 3 January 2015 was a strange mix of relaxation and stress. Relaxation during the New Year break, and stress because the server migration I was doing started to become a complete pain.

Since this is being posted a week late, I won’t bother expanding on all that for now. I may or may not issue a series of whinges in relation to the server migration.

But I will mention that on 30 December I migrated from Bunjaree Cottages near Wentworth Falls to Lilyfield in Sydney’s inner west, there to spend most of January. If you need to catch up with me in Sydney for some reason, this is the month for you.



There were three editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday, and Friday. You might want to subscribe so you receive them all. Subscribe. Just subscribe.

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[Photo: Sydney skyline, photographed on 30 December 2014. I seem to recall that it was a very hot day that day.]

My week of Monday 30 December 2013 to Sunday 5 January 2014 was, like last week, devoid of productivity and reportable interestingness thanks to the slow week between Christmas and New Year and the slow days thereafter.

I have been thinking about 2014, however, and I may pour some of those thoughts into a blog post some time in the next few days. The brief version is roughly “Thank fuck 2013 is over and done with, and here’s to a much better 2014.”

Certainly yesterday, Saturday, contained a significantly odd and yet strangely wonderful event.

No, there shall be no details.

The Week Ahead

Well, the working year kicks off properly tomorrow, Monday, so I guess I’ll be starting to focus on planning out January. I have very little mapped out just now — the only firm appointments are a couple of social events — but with the PR folks back at their desks tomorrow, the next few days will see the invitations and other communications kick off.

And I need to placate my editors after a rather unproductive November and December.

I’m in Sydney currently, and will stay in Sydney through to Tuesday before returning to Wentworth Falls — though there’s a chance that plan might change at relatively short notice. As always.

I know I have some writing to do, namely my usual column for ZDNet Australia and the remaining loose ends for the Corrupted Nerds hacker conference thingy.

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This was expected to be a short, easy week between Christmas and New Year, but when news of the Anonymous hack on Stratfor broke, well, that was it. It dominated everything except my personal podcast.

There’s still some end-of-year start-of-year posts to come, but I’ll deal with them over the next few days. I actually took the holiday weekend as a holiday.


  • The 9pm Edict episode 16, which had rather a lot about Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s Christmas Message, and a fair amount about Twitter. It thought this episode was a bit weaker than others recently, because I didn’t seem to channel the rage. But I’ve been told it’s OK. I shrug my shoulders.
  • The 9pm Edict episode 17, which was put together in a pub on New Year’s Eve, interrupted by the pub closing early, and filled with more than the usual number of expletives. The bits of the script that had to be left out will appear in a special bonus episode soon.


The one written piece I did about the Stratfor hack shouldn’t be listed in this Weekly Wrap, technically, because it wasn’t published until 2 January. But I’ll list it here anyway for compeleteness.

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None. I have been abandoned. It’s not like PR companies are real families.


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: The Meaning of Life, Part 1. This uniform was worn by nearly every woman under 25 partying in Sydney on New Year’s Eve. Photograph taken near the corner of George and Goulburn Streets, Sydney.]