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 crowdfunded journalism on ABC RN Media Report

ABC logoWhen I first decided to try Pozible, the crowdfunding site, to fund last week’s trip to Melbourne, I didn’t think it was particularly special, but others did — including ABC Radio National’s Media Report.

On Wednesday last week, presenter Richard Aedy recorded an interview with me, and almost all of it made its way into Thursday evening’s program.

When Stilgherrian wanted to head interstate to cover two hacking conference but didn’t have the budget, he made his first foray into crowdfunding his journalism. So how did he go and what has he learnt? And can this be applied to other less high profile freelancers in Australia?


The audio is ©2013 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and this is just a copy of the audio that’s posted on the program website.

The material being produced as a result of this crowdfunding is gradually being published at Corrupted Nerds.

Weekly Wrap 176: Largely largesse, then looming bushfires

Bushfires near me, 1350 AEDT: click to embiggenI’m finding it difficult to switch into that mode where I can concentrate on my writing today. The map above explains why.

I’m at the red marker near Wentworth Falls, and the only two escape routes are the road or railway east towards Sydney or west then north-west towards Lithgow.

The smaller Mt Victoria fire on the left has, remarkably, been contained to much the same boundaries as yesterday, thanks to the hard work and backburning activities of the NSW Rural Fire Service (RFS). So far.

The enormous State Mine Fire to the north, however, is growing. The winds, while currently forecast to be relatively mild, are nevertheless pushing the fire in this direction. And while it might look a long way away, given adverse weather conditions a bushfire can travel that distance in mere hours.

Both fires have the potential to reach Wentworth Falls, and earlier this afternoon the RFS chief said that the entire Blue Mountains could end up at risk in the coming days.

While I’m not particularly worried, I do need to stay alert in case the RFS escalates their warnings. I’m already as step ahead: I’ve packed my bug-out bag and have an evacuation plan. But that still makes it difficult to switch off that little stay-alert part of my brain and get down to writing.

So for now, here’s the quick summary of my week Monday 14 to Sunday 20 October 2013, plus the week ahead.

Continue reading “Weekly Wrap 176: Largely largesse, then looming bushfires”

Target achieved, indulgent food, bushfire pensiveness

Bushfire sunset, as seen from Camperdown, Sydney: click to embiggenI’d scheduled time tonight to write about my crowdfunded journalism project — the initial target was achieved in under 17 hours! — but after a complex day I’m mentally exhausted.

I woke up happy that I’d raised the funds to cover the Breakpoint and Ruxcon hacker conferences in Melbourne next week. I booked my flights.

Then I enjoyed breakfast with a magnificent view of Sydney Harbour while being briefed by executives from data centre provider Equinix. Then a magnificent lunch at Rockpool while being briefed by NEC and analyst firm Telsyte.

And then the smoke rolled over Sydney.

Some of the more serious fires are in the lower Blue Mountains, between where I am in Sydney tonight and where I’m based at Bunjaree Cottages in the upper Blue Mountains.

The magnificent sunset, pictured at the head of this post, is the result of destruction. Towns have been evacuated, dozens of homes have been destroyed. I’m scheduled to return to Wentworth Falls tomorrow evening, but that assumes that transport lines are still open.

My journalism project is ahead of schedule. That’s enough for now. What I’ll need most tomorrow is energy. My thoughts are with the people with real problems to deal with. Goodnight.

[Photo: Bushfire sunset, as seen from Camperdown, Sydney, earlier this evening.]

Is crowdfunded journalism a thing? My first experiment…

I’m getting sick of the “journalism is dying” meme. The old media factories are in trouble, sure, but I reckon journalism can do just fine without them. Stockholm Syndrome, people! So I’m going to put my money where my mouth is.

Well, your money.

I’ve just launched a Pozible crowdfunding campaign to send me to the Breakpoint and Ruxcon hacker conferences in Melbourne at the end of next week.

I won’t go into too much detail here. Just click through to the Pozible project page. All I’ll say for now is that there’s just seven days to raise $1800 more. Tight, but possible. More thoughts tonight.

[Update 2240 AEDT: Wow. Just, wow. It’s less that 17 hours since the Pozible project was launched, and it’s just passed 100% of the initial target. That means I’m definitely going to Breakpoint and Ruxcon, thanks to a raft of generous people. The project remains open until 1200 AEDT on Tuesday 22 October, though, with further funds going to the production of “Stream 2” items. See the Pozible project page for details of how that works. Thank you.]