Weekly Wrap 418: Cybers and a river in Queensland

Nested bridges on the Brisbane RiverMy week of Monday 28 May to Sunday 3 June 2018 began in the Blue Mountains, passed through the Gold Coast, and ended up in Brisbane. But I told you that last week.

Articles

Podcasts

None. But there will be two episodes quite soon. Trust me on this.

Media Appearances

  • On Monday morning, I spoke about the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ABC Darwin.
  • On Monday evening, I spoke about the risks of leaving data un-wiped on things like printers and photocopiers on ABC Melbourne.
  • On Tuesday morning, I spoke about the EU’s new General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) on ABC Alice Springs.
  • On Thursday, the inimitable wine writer Philip White cited one of my tweets, kinda, in his InDaily column, The art of ranking alcohol.

Corporate Largesse

  • Wednesday through Friday, there was plenty of food and drink to be had at the AusCERT Cyber Security Conference. I also scored an AusCERT backpack and polo shirt, and from Enex Carbon a couple of branded pens. I didn’t really run amok in the vendors’ stalls this year.

The Week Ahead

I’m staying on in Brisbane for a couple more days. On Monday, after a morning of writing, I’m having lunch with an infosec person, then recording an episode of The 9pm Probe with author and columnist John Birmingham. Tuesday includes more writing, as well as my afternoon flight back to Sydney.

Wednesday is a Sydney day, with a couple of medical appointments interrupting my scheduled writing. I’ll also be recording a review of a chicken and avocado pie — don’t ask — and eventually getting the train back up to Wentworth Falls.

The rest of the week is full of writing for Crikey and ZDNet, arranged as the mood takes me. Then there’s the Queen’s Birthday long weekend, but so far I haven’t planned anything for that.

Further Ahead

Things I’ve pencilled in:

[Photo: Nested bridges on the Brisbane River. SA view from a CityCat ferry as it makes its way down the Brisbane River towards the CBD, photographed on 3 June 2018.]

“To boldly go…” and the Cycle of Time

To boldly go...: click to embiggenThere’s something symbolic and, indeed, deeply personal about the image illustrating this week’s Weekly Wrap, my five-year old photograph titled To boldly go….

A small boat heads out into the fog of San Francisco Bay on 10 December 2010. Even though it’s probably just crossing the bay to Marin County, or stopping near Alcatraz Island for a spot of fishing, it looks like there’s a vast and dangerous journey ahead.

It continues to be one of my personal favourites.

I’ve used this photo before, to illustrate Weekly Wrap 267: Chaos, then embracing the change, on 19 July 2015.

But I also used it four years earlier, on 24 January 2011, to illustrate Accommodation: into the unknown. I’d had to leave Enmore with no clear plan. I was worried. The image reflected my mood.

Less than a fortnight after that post, three strong men and a truck took away all my household possessions and office furniture, and put it into storage.

I took just two suitcases of clothing and my most important tools and documents, and headed to the Blue Mountains to stay at Bunjaree Cottages for “a few weeks”. I had a month of work-related travel coming up, I said, and I’d sort out my accommodation when I got back.

Five years later, I’m still at Bunjaree Cottages.

And it’s still temporary.

Continue reading ““To boldly go…” and the Cycle of Time”

Accommodation: into the unknown

Oddly enough, I might end up managing my hunt for a new home more effectively and more cheaply by leaving the country next month. But even if that doesn’t happen, it looks like I’ll be in temporary digs for a while.

If you don’t like personal blog posts, stop reading now. Instead, read about this pro-intervention former CIA officer who runs his own private intelligence service.

If you’ve just tuned in, we were given notice to vacate the Enmore house by 3 February. The property owner refused my request to change that date or even negotiate. January is when I should be focussed on kicking off work for the year, especially given that freelance writing and production and my other billable work all but disappear during the so-called holiday season. I really should have kicked off the househunting too. But I was, erm, distracted to say the least during Artemis’ final days.

So, as I feared, the deadline approaches without the cashflows needed to cover moving house — you know, the usual annoyance of having to come up with a bond and additional rent, as well as any removalist costs. Friends have offered to help, so that’s good. But I will admit that I’m still very, very stressed. It’s affecting my productivity. Which affects my cashflows. Chicken. Egg. Etc.

Then last week a PR agency asked me whether I’d be available for a trip to San Francisco in February. I can’t say when or why or who’d be paying just yet, and in any event the offer hasn’t been confirmed. But it set me thinking. There could be another way.

Continue reading “Accommodation: into the unknown”

Stopping the junk mail flood 4

Since my last post on this subject two months ago I’ve seen a substantial drop in advertising material in my letterbox. While I haven’t complained to the perpetrators who continued to ignore the “no advertising material” sign, let’s list them for posterity.

The new guilty parties are: 3 Mangoes Thai; Arthur, a builder; Australia Wide Tax Solutions; Bus Stop Espresso; Caldo Pizza; Domino’s Pizza (yet again, twice); Chadwick Plumbing; Civic Video; Essence of India restaurant; Green Ecovations: Hot’n’Spicy Thai; James Wilson Pest Management; Just Screw It (carpenters!); L J Hooker (the real estate agent, again); Lat-Dior African Eatery; Moon Koon Chinese Restaurant; Notes Live Music Restaurant and Bar; Patrick Coughlan, electrician; Pavarotti Gourmet Pizza; Ray White Real Estate; S & W Building Services; San Remo Pizza; Smiles (a dental clinic); Stanmore Natural Health; Steve’s Budget Gutter Cleaning; Thingk Baby [sic]; Urbane Inner West (another real estate agent); Yoga To Go.

I still want to know why real estate agents figure so prominently. And I still want to know why Domino’s customer service people never reply to their emails.

Stopping the junk mail flood 3

There’s been far less junk mail lately. Complaining to the major distributors, as described in my previous update and its comments, works. However there are still some serial offenders.

First, though, a pat on the head to Broadway Shopping Centre, Franklin’s and Mountain Designs who, as reported in the comments, responded quickly.

A slap on the wrist to De Sousa Real Estate; Domino’s Pizza (again! three times now!); Marrickville First National Real Estate; Prestige Cleaning Specialists; Raine & Horne Marrickville (a real estate agent again! twice!); and Ray White Newtown (yes, another real estate agent!), none of whom even acknowledged my email. Pathetic.

Since my last update, the new batch of rude pricks includes Banana Joe’s FoodWorks Marrickville; Camperdown Fitness; Domino’s Pizza (again); L J Hooker (a real estate agent); Lat-Dior African Eatery; Magic Tree Service; McGrath (a real estate agent, of course); Pinpoint Plumbing Services; Ray White Surry Hills & Alexandria (yes, another real estate agent); St Brendan’s Church, Annandale (OK, I suppose religious organisations are exempt); Sydney Antenna Specialists; and a builder-repairer called Michael.

I won’t contact these businesses his time, as some of the problems date back more than two months, and, quite frankly, I couldn’t be bothered. But I will get back into a routine of a roughly monthly post — for my own reference if nothing else.

Stopping the junk mail flood

Photograph of our broken brick fence and letterbox

OK, some time on the weekend someone broke the brick wall which supports our letterbox. It wasn’t us. But given the poor behaviour of the junk mail merchants, who could blame us?

Despite the presence of a “No Junk Mail” sticker and the more recent addition of Marrickville council’s own “No Advertising Material” sticker, advertisers continue to shove their things into our box. So I’ve decided to name and shame.

This week’s advertisers who failed to follow this basic piece of etiquette are: Cavellis Woodfire Pizzeria; Cut & Save Tree Service; David Jones; Domino’s Pizza; Go Green Insulation; Kmart; MiniMovers; Papaya Thai Eatery; Raine & Horne Marrickville.

Now I do know that in Australia these stickers have no legal force — unlike online, where the Spam Act 2003 provides stricter rules. But if someone communicates a polite request not to receive a catalog, and the first thing you do is give them the catalog anyway… well, is that really a good marketing message?

I’ve also noticed over time that real estate agents are particularly prominent in our junk mail. What is it about these overpaid pricks?

I’ll be inviting each of these advertisers to respond.

[Update 9.15am: Missed one: Marrickville Metro (AMP Capital Shopping Centres). They’re another company that’s big enough to know better.]