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En route to Sydney: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 6 to Sunday 12 April 2015 was a little busier than it should have been, given that the Easter long weekend was in there. Mind you, I did plenty of work-related things in there.

I won’t list them all, because some of them were background things that you’re not allowed to know about yet. And some of them were thoughtful, long-term things that will be discussed soon enough. So it’s just the list for now.

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Government by Fools”, being The 9pm Edict episode 39. It contains a brief rant about pies, amongst other things.

Articles

5at5

Three editions of 5at5 this week, on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. To save me having to tell you this, you could just subscribe.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

I’m in Sydney all this week, and have a bunch of things to do, but in no particular order. I’ve got to plan the next month, produce an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast by Tuesday night, plan out a subscription drive for that podcast, review six TV scripts, write a column for ZDNet Australia, produce and post the recording of last week’s UTS lecture, coordinate some medical treatment, and finally assemble that ebook that’s been lurking in the back of the to-do list for far, far too long.

[Photo: En route to Sydney, being the view from a Blue Mountains line train as it travelled down to Sydney in the early morning light on Thursday 9 April 2015. It was a very different mood from last week’s view.]

ABC logoThe government’s discussion paper on online copyright infringement came out just over a month ago, the submissions period closed on Monday, and now the debate is really kicking off — including on the complicated legal issue of geoblocking.

Now I’ve already given my opinion on the political spin in the discussion paper itself. But the specific issue of geoblocking came up on ABC Gold Coast, and this morning I spoke with breakfast presenter Bern Young.

Legally it’s a grey area. By signing up for a Netflix account from Australia, for example, you may be breaking the terms and conditions of their service. But you’re still paying for the content, and money is passed on the the actual producers.

The only people missing out are the local Australian distributors who’ve inserted themselves between the content producers and the audience. What value are they adding, exactly? The whole point of the internet is to enable people to connect globally.

CHOICE sees it as a consumer issue. Doesn’t geoblocking, the restriction of content availability by location, restrict competition? They’ve just launched a TV campaign making that point. Even the government’s own inquiry into IT pricing recommended that geoblocking be outlawed.

The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoAnother series of Game of Thrones is released, which means another series of radio spots talking about Australia’s reputation for (allegedly) massive levels of illegal downloads.

This spot is from Tuesday 8 April, a chat with ABC 720 Perth afternoon presenter Gillian O’Shaughnessy, triggered by the news that the first episode of Game of Thrones series four had seen record levels of illegal downloads, with Perth topping the list — although Angus Kidman at Lifehacker disagrees.

One highlight of this conversation is when I suggest that the entire Australian content distribution industry should just get out of the way, retire and go play on their yachts.

The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

ABC logoThe third radio spot I did about Attorney-General George Brandis’ comments on digital copyright was with ABC 105.7 Darwin on Wednesday 19 February. Here it is.

(“Third” you ask? There’s only been one other posted so far. That’s true. The second spot was with Dom Knight on ABC 702 Sydney on Tuesday 18 February. But I don’t have a recording for you. Sorry.)

This is roughly the same discussion I had on Spoke on Tuesday, but with presenter Kate O’Toole and after I’d drank a bottle of Sangiovese Barbera after I got angrier about the issues. So the concept of graduated response is a thing again, I allude to the iiTrial and so on. And yes I mentioned Rebecca Giblin’s research.

The audio is of course ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

3555 logoMy recent critique of Attorney-General George Brandis’ comments about copyright reform in the digital age attracted plenty of positive comments — and also some media attention.

That critique was my ZDNet Australia column on the day of Brandis’ speech, Friday 14 February, What the Dickens will Brandis do to copyright in the digital realm?

The first piece of media interest was from Michelle Bennett, presenter of Spoke, the weekly social issues program on Melbourne community radio station 3RRR. The interview was recorded on Sunday 16 February and broadcast in the Spoke episode of Tuesday 18 February.

The conversation wasn’t just about Brandis’ comments, but also some of the background — including the so-called iiTrial between the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft (AFACT) and internet service provider iiNet, the graduated response or “three strikes” rules for tackling copyright infringement, the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) treaty, and the idea that internet access can be considered a basic human right.

I also mentioned Dr Rebecca Giblin’s research paper, Evaluating Graduated Response, which looked at those three strikes rules. The conclusion was that “there is little to no evidence that that graduated responses are either ‘successful’ or ‘effective’.”

The interview is ©2014 Triple R Broadcasters Ltd. Over at their website you can listen to the full program.

Sydney airport before dawn: click for original imageMy week of Monday 10 to Sunday 16 February 2014 isn’t quite finished, but today is effectively the start of a new working week so… well, here we are. Before breakfast at Sydney Airport. Or right next to it. Call it a wrap of Monday to Saturday.

It seems that I switched from early-month torpor to late-month productivity around mid-week. We’ll see how that pans out over the next few days. But I do think I’m starting to identity a clear pattern here.

Articles

Media Appearances

5at5

I suppose I should give better prominence to 5at5, the “email letter” that I started two weeks ago. I’ve actually managed to stick to the daily routine — albeit with some wobbliness in the “around 5pm Sydney time” part of the deal — and it seems like people are liking it. Enjoy.

Corporate Largesse

  • Today I’m heading to the Gold Coast for the three-day Tech Leaders Forum 2014, formerly known as Kickstart Forum, an event I’ve attended in previous years. The event organisers cover my airfares and accommodation, and there’s usually plenty of food and drink and various freebies from the vendors who pay for it all. I’ll list all of the largesse next week so it’s all in the one place.

The Week Ahead

I’ll be on the Gold Coast through until Tuesday evening, fully occupied with the aforementioned event. I’ll then return to the Blue Mountains for a solid week of writing. There’s nothing locked in for Sydney at this stage, but of course that may change.

[Photo: Sydney airport before dawn, taken shortly before the post was published.]

"Shut up, I'm eating this flower": click to embiggenThe week of Monday 25 to Sunday 31 March 2013 was hectic and varied — lecturing at a university, appearing on TV and being reminded how easily internet technology can fall apart.

The various media things are listed here, of course. What’s not listed is a sudden and unexpected day full of geekery that began at 0100 on (Good) Friday and ran well into the evening. A server software upgrade went pear-shaped. and I had to coordinate work between the server team in India and the data centre team in the US. Given that they had different responsibilities and authorities, I had to sign off on their plans. There’s some lessons in there that’d make an interesting blog post — but not yet.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Monday, I paid a visit to Vertel in Alexandria, Sydney, to find out about what they can do with high-speed wireless internet links. They offered me a beer. I accepted. It was a Peroni. It was rather nice.

The Week Ahead

This’ll be an interesting one because tomorrow, which is both the public holiday for Easter Monday and the start of a new quarter, I’m planning to kick off a series of changes in my little world. Or at least try to. I’ll write about that tomorrow morning afternoon.

I’ve also got plenty of writing lined up, including two pieces for Technology Spectator, one for CSO Online, one for Crikey and my usual column for ZDNet. This both pleases and stresses me. I may rearrange this a bit, because that’s rather a lot for a short week.

At this stage it’s looking like I’ll be in Wentworth Falls for the first part of the week, before heading down to Sydney on Friday morning to record Marc Fennell’s Download This Show for ABC Radio National.

[Photo: Shut up, I’m eating this flower, yet another photograph of a crimson rosella (Platycercus elegans) at Bunjaree Cottages. I feel like I’ve posted a few too many Bunjaree bird photos lately, but I couldn’t resist the seemingly-cheeky look this guy threw me while he ripped apart and ate the eating a mountain devil (Lambertia formosa) flowers from a nearby plant.]

[Update 1 April 2013, 1145 AEDT: Updated the ETA for the post about my plans to reflect the unfolding reality.]

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.

Articles

Podcasts

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

Media Appearances

None.

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.]

Welcome to the People's Democratic Republic of Burwood: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 4 to Sunday 10 February 2013 was… in the past. Shit, it’s already Wednesday night! I’ll just post this here now, with little commentary.

Well, one comment. We do seem to be getting back into the writing thing for 2013.

Articles

Podcasts

None. But wait.

Media Appearances

  • On Thursday I spoke about Twitter and TV on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.
  • Also on Thursday, I spoke about various internet things with Dom Knight on ABC 702 Sydney. I may or may not post the audio. Although I recorded it, there’s a chunk missing because mobile internet.
  • On Friday, I spoke about The Global Mail on Radio 2SER’s Fourth Estate.

Corporate Largesse

Still none. Was it something I said?

The Week Ahead

It’s half gone, and I’m making it up as I go along. But Sunday morning I fly to Maroochydore for Kickstart Forum 2013, so I’ll probably be in Sydney on the weekend.

[Photo: Welcome to the People's Democratic Republic of Burwood, being a picture of a building in Sydney’s suburbs that disturbs me, photographed from a moving train.]

Crikey logoMy Crikey story today on Telstra’s plan to trial the “shaping” of peer-to-peer internet traffic includes quotes from network engineer Mark Newton — but he said so many interesting things I though you should see his entire email.

Mark Newton writes:

From Telstra’s point of view, it’s a good thing: ISPs are a bit like electrical networks, in that they need to provision capacity for peak even though peak is only ever used for an hour or two per day (or, under adversity, a day or two per year: consider capacity planning for the ABC’s ISPs during flood events, or CNN on Sep 11 2001).

P2P users push the peak up, so in electrical network terms that’s like servicing a bunch of customers who leave their air conditioners on all the time.

Anything a telco can do to “squash” the peak is going to have an immediate impact on their bottom line.

If, by side effect, it inspires a bunch of the heaviest-using customers to migrate to other ISPs, that’ll reduce the profitability of those other ISPs and improve Telstra’s margins, so that’s a net positive. Why “fire” your worst customers when you can convince them to resign?

From a user’s point of view it’s more dismal, and the impact will depend on how Telstra uses their systems.

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