Talking technology on ABC 720 Perth, episode the third

ABC logoThe Christmas Day attacks on Sony’s PlayStation Network and Microsoft’s Xbox and the supposed culprits, Lizard Squad, featured in this week’s “Tech Wreck” segment on ABC 720 Perth. Also, fake fingerprints and Facebook’s end of year review.

Lizard Squad had claimed responsibility for the attacks, and stopped them when Kim Dotcom paid them off. I reckon that was a mistake. Meanwhile, infosec journalist Brian Krebs thinks he’s identified Lizard Squad members, and later reported that at least one has been arrested.

A hacker presenting at the Chaos Computer Club conference in Germany demonstrated how he could recreate a fingerprint just from photographs.

And the Facebook thing? Just read this guy’s story.

The presenter is Jamie Burnett.

I’ve delayed posting this audio because there was a problem. I normally record off the ABC’s internet feed, but the link dropped out part-way. Journalist Will Ockenden was kind enough to pull the audio from the ABC’s archiving system, but that was interrupted by bushfire alerts. What to do?

I decided I’d post it as-is, because this is what Perth listeners would have heard, and it highlights just how serious Australia has to get during our hot, dangerous summers.

The next “Tech Wreck” segment is on ABC 720 Perth this Tuesday 6 January 2015 at 1430 AWST / 173 AEDT.

The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Weekly Wrap 238: Cyberwar hype for Christmas

Banksia in shadow: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 22 to Sunday 28 December 2014 was a strange beast, what with the Christmas break and certain excesses dumped smack down into the middle of it. And we’re about to do it all over again.

The stress related to having to wrap up everything in the three days before Christmas was compounded by a certain amount of uncertainty as to whether a certain large media company was certain about being able to pay my November invoice before the holidays began. One thing was certain, though: that would have certainly caused a certain amount of pain.

Fortunately that was all sorted out, and I did have enough money to both to celebrate Christmas, in my own small way, and to pay the bills. But the entire process was mentally exhausting.



An edition of 5at5 was emailed every working day, on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. You might want to subscribe so you receive them all. Subscribe. Just subscribe.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Kaspersky Lab sent a Christmas present in the form of a bottle of Penfolds Bin 28 Kalimna Shiraz. They’re such terrible people.

The Week Ahead

It will be another busy week punctuated by a public holiday.

Monday’s key tasks are to pitch some column ideas to ZDNet Australia, deal with some administrivia that can’t be done on the weekend, write a couple of standard blog posts, and start work on the chosen ZDNet column.

On Tuesday, I’ll finish that column, and then catch the train to Sydney — not just for the regular spot on ABC 720 Perth, but also to bump in to the Chirgwin residence in Lilyfield, where I’ll be taking up residence through until about 25 January. If you’ve been trying to arrange a meeting in Sydney with me, January represented your chance.

On Wednesday, I’ll be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, which simply must be finished and published that day, because it’s New Year’s Eve. That will in turn be followed by New Year’s Day, an event which is bound to be marked by a gap in the official record.

Friday will be a relaxed-pace day of work, pottering around the various tasks that accompany a new year, and reflecting upon the nature of Sin. Then the weekend should provide further opportunities for same. The reflection, I mean, not the sin.

Now overlaid on top of all this may be the much-delayed server migration. That will depend on some details that I won’t be able to confirm until Monday. Stand by. Or sit down with a gin and tonic, whichever you think is more appropriate for summer.

[Photo: Banksia in shadow, photographed at Bunjaree Cottages near Wentworth Falls in the Blue Mountains, 100km west of Sydney, on 22 December 2014. Everywhere around this banksia flower was cast in shadow by a nearby tree — except for the one shaft of sunlight striking the flower itself. Tom Gwynne-Jones and Martin Miles have identified it as a Banksia serrata. If they’re wrong, I daresay some kind person will help us with the correct species soon enough.]

Talking technology on ABC 720 Perth, episode the second

ABC logoThe hack of Sony Pictures Entertainment inspired many of the talking points on today’s “Tech Wreck” segment on ABC 720 Perth.

Did North Korea hack Sony? Or was it hackers-for-hire employed by North Korea? Or was it someone else who hired hackers and paid them to look like they were working for North Korea? At this stage nobody knows. But whoever did the hack, it is not “cyberwar”.

Sony is also trying to take legal action against people publishing links to the stolen material, which is surely going to trigger the Streisand Effect — which I explained.

We spoke about how Sony’s computer networks were shut down, leading to working like it’s an office from ten years ago, but with added paranoia.

And we also spoke about the Pew Research Center report, as described in the Fairfax press, which suggested that living a public life online would be the new default by the year 2025. Privacy will be considered a luxury.

The presenter is Jamie Burnett.

The audio is ©2014 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

Weekly Wrap 142: Queensland, rain, alcohol and suchlike

Approaching the colony planet: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 18 to Sunday 24 February 2013 began in Queensland, of course, because I told you that last week. It then went to Sydney, Wentworth Falls, Sydney, and Wentworth Falls again.

The latter part of the week included far too much alcohol, but we won’t talk about that.

More importantly, the week was full of rain. Rain in Queensland. Rain in the Blue Mountains. Rain in Sydney. Too much rain.



None. There was going to be one, for TechRepublic, but my recorder died. I am jinxed.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • I attended Kickstart Forum 2013, the annual get-together of many of Australia’s technology journalists with a bunch of vendors who pay to be there. There was plenty of largesse. Event organisers: return flights from Sydney to the Sunshine Coast and two nights accommodation at the Novotel Twin Waters Resort including breakfast. AVG ANZ: Information drinks on Sunday evening. Emerson Network Power: a 4GB USB drive containing their media pack. Intel: Sunday night’s superhero-themed dinner (although I didn’t go). KANA Software: a “personal survival kit” containing a Berocca Twist & Go, Panadol (12 tablets), Mentos mints (4) and a branded water bottle. LogMeIn: a spiral-bound paper notebook, a pen and a Berocca Twist & Go. Motorola Solutions: a 4GB USB drive containing their media pack. NEC: audio earbuds in a sensible little plastic case, and an iDual combined stylus and writing pen. NetSuite: Sunday night’s 1980s-themed dinner. Rackspace: Tuesday’s lunch. Symantec: Monday’s lunch, a branded water bottle (not taken) and a blank 8GB car-shaped USB drive. Truphone: a 2GB USB drive containing their media pack.
  • On Wednesday I attended the launch of VMware’s new end-user computing platform, which took the form of a lunch at Altitude Restaurant at the Shangri-La Hotel in Sydney. There was food and wine and a view.

The Week Ahead

Monday is a day of writing, with articles for CSO Online and Technology Spectator. On Tuesday I’ll pop down to Sydney for the lunchtime launch of Kaspersky Endpoint Security for Business. The rest of the week has yet to be arranged, but it’s looking like a steady few days of writing and planning. The weekend is completely unplanned.

[Photo: Approaching the colony planet, actually a photograph of the pumpkin and ginger soup at The Carrington Hotel, Katoomba.]

The 9pm Edict #13

The 9pm EdictWestpac forgets that banks are meant to be about trust, and just bullshits us during a major outage. Sony too. Snake-oil salesfolk tell us gamification will solve all our needs. Bugger the morals. And idiots imagine that Twitter is like CNN, somehow.

Yes The 9pm Edict podcast has returned after an hiatus of nine months. Just like pregnancy. But let’s not go there. Where I do go is gamification, and I refer to the video Gamifying Education and my op-ed at Technology Spectator.

You can listen below. But if you want all of the episodes, now and in the future, subscribe to the podcast feed, or even subscribe automatically in iTunes.

If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]

Pricing is just Perception, Lesson 1

Consider the Sony SVRHD700 Digital Video Recorder. This fine-looking piece of kit has dual high-definition digital TV tuners, HDMI output and a 160GB hard drive to store up to 23 hours of HD video. The even finer Sony SVRHD900 is identical — except for a 250GB hard drive, storing 36 hours.

Now a 250GB hard drive costs just $30 more than a 160GB. But by adding $30 of hardware, Sony can charge an extra $200 for the whole machine — $1499 compared with $1299.

Why? Because you get 56% more storage, and 20% more model number, but pay only 15% more. Bargain!