Crowdfunding for The 9pm Edict’s autumn series closes in less than 48 hours. This season teaser contains some personal observations on the war, the plague, and the election, as well as a final request for you to pledge your support .Continue reading “The 9pm Everything in Brief on Tuesday with Two Days to Go”
A random man shares his fear, a fear we all share. Nicholas Fryer makes life more enjoyable. And you know that end of the world thing? Pffft. The Cold War. That all turned out OK, so what’s the worry?
There’s also talk of gamified urination, paranoia, nuclear war, legumes, gelato, and bamboo. And Nicholas Fryer takes a look through The Arch Window.Continue reading “The 9pm Hallucinating Goldfish”
My week of Monday 20 to Sunday 26 October 2014 was moderately productive. Not as productive as I’d hoped, but close enough.
Winter is definitely over. Despite the snowfall nearby last week, this week temperatures in the Blue Mountains rose to 28C or more, and the weekend brought a mix of bright blue skies and the occasional thundery rainstorm. We have broken the climate.
- Corrupted Nerds: Conversations 12, being a discussion of mandatory telecommunications metadata and surveillance with Carly Nyst, legal director of Privacy International.
- “The 9pm Vision for Australia”, being The 9pm Edict episode 31, 22 October 2014. It includes quite a bit about the passing of Gough Whitlam.
- Will metadata musings ever mature beyond paranoid fears?, ZDNet Australia, 20 October 2014.
I’ve also written a second piece for ZDNet Australia, as well as a piece for Crikey, both of which will be published on Monday.
- On Wednesday, I spoke about Telstra wholesale pricing and how it affects your phone and internet bills on 1395 FIVEaa.
- On Thursday, I was a guest on the recording of this week’s Download This Show for ABC Radio National.
The Week Ahead
It’ll be another busy one, structured around a trip to Sydney on Tuesday to go to a lunchtime briefing from NetSuite and then the OpenAustralia Foundation Pub Night. I’ll be staying in Sydney overnight.
Arranged around that will be the writing of a security-related feature plus my regular column for ZDNet Australia, and the production of an episode of The 9pm Edict, probably in that order. The exact details are still to be sorted out.
The weekend is unplanned.
[Photo: “Flustered currawong”, taken when a pied currawong (Strepera graculina) managed to find its way into Bunjaree Cottages on 26 October 2014.]
With all their constant worrying about whether people would recommend them or not, like this example from Telstra, I’m starting to think that most big corporations are paranoid psychotics — and not in a good way.
The other day I conducted a perfectly routine transaction at a Telstra Shop. I cancelled a mobile broadband service and replaced it with a different one. As with many businesses, my visit was followed up with a brief survey, “Please tell us how you feel.”
There were four questions, but none of them actually asked me how I felt:
Is your new Telstra service working? If you answer ‘no’ to this question, we will present you with options to get in contact with Telstra to resolve your issue on the next page.
OK, that’s fair enough. You need to know that the customer has a working broadband service. But the other three?
When you consider all aspects of buying and connecting your service — how likely are you to recommend Telstra to a friend or colleague?
Thinking about your in-store experience, how likely would you be to recommend the store to a friend or colleague?
What are the most important reasons why you gave us this score?
Guys, this goes way beyond “Does my bum look fat in this?” This is self-obsession. “What are you going to tell people about us? Why, what did I do?”
These constant questions about likelihood of being recommended are a sign of paranoia. I don’t care how you feel, I gave you money. Recommending you or not just isn’t a KPI for me.
How about you ask questions that reflect the customer’s needs and aspirations? Or even just concrete questions about how long I had to wait, whether staff were polite, or whether the service meets my needs?
[Update 2.25pm: Comments on Twitter have persuaded me to emphasise that the question here is specifically about “personal safety” only, not lame and replaceable possessions, and my personal safety at that. As the second-last paragraph says, the risk profile might not be the same for everyone. These are the choices I’ve made with open eyes.]
“How do you think that tweeting your day plans affects your personal safety?” asked Ravneel Chand a short time ago. Overall, I reckon it actually increases my safety. Here’s why.
Background first. Here’s today’s “daily plan” tweet which, like those on pretty much every other day, is tweeted shortly before I settle down to work.
Thu plan: Bump out Waratah Cottage; 1032 train to Sydney; lunch (where?); errand Newtown/Enmore; write something; evening TBA.
Later in the morning I mentioned that I’d be catching a later train. And then, just as I left the house:
Mobile: Cab, shortly, to Wentworth Falls; 1132 train to Sydney Central; train to Town Hall station; 1335 walk to SEKRIT hotel and check in.
Clearly the fear being expressed is that by knowing my movements some bad person could more easily do me harm. But let’s do a proper risk assessment. You start one of those by enumerating the risks, and then you look at how this additional information might change those risks.
Since the list of most popular posts for 2011 was pretty disappointing, just like the previous year, here’s my personal selection of seven more timeless posts for this year. Happy reading!
As usual, this does not include the material I wrote elsewhere, for Crikey, ZDNet Australia, ABC The Drum, Technology Spectator, CSO Online and the rest. That’s all listed on my Media Output page.
- Right, Google, you stupid cunts, this is simply not on! This was my first critique of the Google+ Real Names Policy, and still the most widely read.
- LinkedIn’s inadequate response to privacy stupidity, which was when they opened up people’s profiles for use in third-party advertising without asking first.
- Twitter: a guide for busy paranoids, adapted from a piece I wrote for the NSW Local Government Web Network.
- Tweeting your way out of Paranoia, a video of the presentation I did for the NSW LGWN conference. Yes, it’s related to the previous item.
- 50 to 50 #9: The Space Age, and the companion piece…
- 50 to 50 #9A: The Real Space Age. They’re about my personal experience of the Space Age.
- Goodbye, Artemis, a very personal experience.
[Update 27 December 2011: Minor corrections to text and HTML markup.]