Weekly Wrap 292: Perhaps not as ready as I’d like

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.




Media Appearances



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 Linux.conf.au 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.]

Announcing “The 9pm Intermission”

Recording "Announcing 'The 9pm Intermission'": click to embiggen

Ah yeah, hello. Careful listeners will have noticed that there hasn’t been an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast since early March. And it’s now early April. Sorry about that.

I had most of the pre-production done for an episode on 24 March, and then I got a cold, and then five days later much of what I’d written had become… obsolete as time passed.

So fuck time, basically. In fact, fuck most of physics, because physics does nothing but get in the way of doing anything truly interesting in this world. And fuck science generally.

Continue reading “Announcing “The 9pm Intermission””

Weekly Wrap 141: Taiga and the travels, to Queensland!

Modern economics explained: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 11 to Sunday 17 February 2013 was a strange one, beginning in Wentworth Falls and ending in Queensland, with a brief sojourn in Parramatta.

It was in Parramatta that I met my new friend (pictured), whose name is Taiga. If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’ll have seen a lot of him over the weekend. You’ll see more today and tomorrow, I’m sure.



None. But wait, I told you! Be patient!

Media Appearances


Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

Kickstart Forum on Monday and Tuesday, returning to Sydney on Tuesday night. On Wednesday VMWare is launching the new end-user computing platform in Sydney at Altitude Restaurant in The Rocks. I haven’t locked in my plans beyond that. Please place your bids.

[Photo: Modern economics explained, being a photograph of Taiga looking eastwards from the Parkroyal Parramatta.]

Weekly Wrap 119: Ducks, ducks, sheep and bull

The bulk of the business end of my week Monday 10 to Sunday 16 September 2012 was spent at Microsoft’s TechEd 2012 event on the Gold Coast, and the weekend at Parramatta.

Microsoft’s event, like all major vendor conferences, began with an intense burst of frustration thanks to the inevitable series of overly-long overly-staged buzzword-saturated propaganda events — “keynotes”, the industry has decided to call them — designed to hammer the new technology’s marketecture into your head while preventing the opportunity for critical thinking.

And, like nearly all others, it eventually settled down into something sensible once all the vice-presidents and managing directors and pointlessly-animated PowerPoint presentations and bass-heavy music had been stage-managed out of the room and actual engineers and designers and other geeks started talking through specific details.

I’ll have more to say about that in due course.

Parramatta, by comparison, delivered a delightful spring weekend full of ducklings and food and wine and almost no pretension whatsoever.

I’ll have more to say about that in due course also.


  • Patch Monday episode 154, “Good-guy hackers and other infosec anomalies”. A conversation with Michael Montecillo, a threat research and intelligence principal with IBM Security Services, covering good-guy hackers (well der!), click fraud, his views on the profile of hacktivism following the arrest of key Anonymous and LulzSec members, and more.


Media Appearances

  • On Tuesday I did a spot on ABC 105.7 Darwin, but it wasn’t recorded my end so I can’t bring it to you today. That’s a remarkable similar statement to last week, except that one was a pre-record with Richard Margetson and this one was live with Kate O’Toole. I’m annoyed that the recording didn’t happen, ‘cos I managed to give a coherent exposition of my thoughts about online bullying.
  • On Tuesday I did another regular Balls Radio spot with Phil Dobbie, talking about the High Court rejecting an appeal in the Optus TV Now case.
  • On Friday I spoke about the new iPhone 5 and the utility of smartphones for journalism on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.

Corporate Largesse

I attended Microsoft’s TechEd 2012 on the Gold Coast as their guest.

  • Microsoft covered my airfares from Sydney to the Gold Coast and return, airport transfers, three nights accommodation at Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino on Broadbeach Island, and all the food and drinks.
  • The conference backpack was a high-quality Targus job, containing marketing material from sponsors and other vendors. The former I’ve kept, because my The North Face backpack is starting to wear out. All the latter I’ve thrown into the recycling bin, unread.


  • On Monday evening I attended the SANS Sydney Community Event “Your Security Monitoring — An Attacker’s Perspective”, where the food and (soft)drinks were sponsored by Shearwater Solutions. An article about this will appear in due course.

The Week Ahead

It’s a busy week of (mostly) writing for me, with around five articles already committed to various mastheads, as well as my presentation at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. I think my original plan to win the first annual Orkney Short Crime Fiction Prize will have to be dropped. I has disappoint.

I’ll be heading from Sydney to Wentworth Falls this afternoon (Monday) and will return to Sydney for the school holiday period on the coming weekend. I also plan to be in Sydney on Wednesday morning for Symantec’s announcement of their Australian expansion plans. How will that turn into an accommodation schedule? I’ll figure that out this evening.

[Photo: Ducks at Parramatta, a delightfully pastoral scene photographed on the banks of the Parramatta River on Saturday afternoon. I managed to get quite close to this family of ducks before they raised the alarm and took to the water.]