SMH: You are what you surf, buy or tweet

I have an op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald today about the surveillance society, something that’s already with us.

Computers can tell when your daughter is pregnant. Sometimes they know even before you do. In a recent feature for The New York Times, Charles Duhigg describes how Target in the US analyses everything it knows about its customers. A young woman buying unscented lotion, a large handbag, zinc and magnesium supplements and a brightly coloured rug is likely to be pregnant. So Target dispatches coupons for baby clothes.

When a father stormed into a store complaining that his teenage daughter had received the coupons, Target was forced to apologise. But days later, he realised the store was right…

You can click through to read the whole thing. But since it was written for the dead-tree paper and not the website there are no links.

Here’s the links to my sources:

You might also enjoy some of my more recent articles on related topics:

The 9pm Edict #18

Danger on the streets! Lock up your children! There’s not a moment to spare. Australians demonstrate their stupidity and complete lack of class by proposing fucked up names for satellites. And in an effort to become relevant to important media issues, a food review.

This episode’s lead topic is the report that NSW Police are lecturing parents who let their children walk to the shops or catch a bus on their own.

I counter this idiocy with the map showing how in just four generations children’s range of action has been cut from six miles to 300 metres, my own experiences as a child, and the Free Range Kids project.

We also hear the misery of entries into NBN Co’s “Name the Satellites” community involvement outreach PR project thingy, and review the wonder that is SunRice Thai Satay Chicken Sauce with Rice.

You can listen to the podcast 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.

Play

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. Not that anyone ever does.

[Credits: Audio grabs from The Police’s Roxanne, SunRice Flavoured Quick Cups television commercial and the survival kit checklist Stanley Kubrick’s film Dr Strangelove. 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. Special thanks to Neil Gardiner.]

Weekly Wrap 88: Mist, media and the joys of Optus

My usual weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This post covers the week from Monday 6 to Sunday 12 February 2012 — and yes, it’s being posted very late.

No excuses, no explanations. I hope to find the time for a more reflective post soon.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 124, “Society 5: our democratic digital future”. With two billion people now online, we should probably start thinking about the kind of world we want to create. Enter the Society 5 project. Co-founder Will Grant explains while his colleague Pia Waugh recuperates silently.
  • The 9pm Edict episode 17A, which covers the depressingly tight-sphinctered Melbourne suburb of Prahran and its inhabitants’ predilection to torture their dogs. Plus other stuff.

Articles

  • Sport has to think outside the box, Sydney Morning Herald, 7 February 2012. It’s an opinion piece about the Federal Court’s ruling that the Optus TV Now service is a legal form of time-shifting a television program.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None. This will certainly change for the current week.

Elsewhere

Most of my day-to-day observations are on my high-volume Twitter stream, and random photos and other observations turn up on my Posterous stream. The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

[Photo: Katoomba in the mist. It’s hard to believe that this photo was taken in late summer, but this was Katoomba’s main street just a week ago. Mind you, this strange weather does lead to glorious views like this morning’s view from my bed.]

The 9pm Edict #17A

Residents of the depressingly tight-sphinctered Melbourne suburb of Prahran torture their dogs. True. And it’s ugly.

Also this week, Australia gets a new masthead for quality journalism, and everyone goes all wet and judgemental. Something something football on the internet. And I finish all the things that I meant to do on New Year’s Eve but didn’t.

Despite being recorded more than five weeks after the previous episode, this is really just a continuation. More or less. Shut up I’m telling this story don’t question me.

Look, I’m going to be writing some more words for a bit, so feel free to scroll down or click through or whatever and just play the podcast, OK?

Continue reading “The 9pm Edict #17A”

The 9pm Edict #17

The 9pm EdictTonight we’re doing what every other media outlet does. A look back at the year. The big stories. From earthquakes and cyclones to royal weddings and the descent of TV stars into madness. All through the eyes of the media and, since it’s 2011, through the eyes of fucking Twitter.

In this episode you’ll hear what I think about the Sydney Morning Herald’s review of 2011 and Charlie Brooker and his drama series Black Mirror.

I also refer to Charlie Brooker’s glorious explanation of the grammar of a TV news story. Watch it.

And as I mentioned on Twitter, this episode has been recorded in bursts of one-take recordings at the C Bar, also known as the Chamberlain Hotel in Haymarket, Sydney. The arseholes closed early. I refer to that, and I shall follow it up next episode.

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.

Play

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.]

The 9pm Edict #15

The 9pm EdictWorld’s most impatient meth cook found in Oklahoma. She couldn’t even wait to get home. Australians are self-obsessed entitled wankers. And won’t someone think of the children? Senator Conroy dropped the f-bomb on national television!

I think he did it deliberately. Watch the video and see for yourself.

Also, Australians are a bunch of wankers with an inflated sense of entitlement.

We are the richest people in the world. And, as Possum of Possum’s Pollytics explained in Crikey last Thursday, we lead the world in everything from decent minimum wages to economic growth over the past decade. Read that article. Please. And while you’re at it, see where you sit on the Global Rich List.

We also hear about the world’s most impatient meth cook.

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.

[Update 16 December 2011: My comments about Senator Conroy’s f-bomb have sparked some interest. If you’re after that bit, it starts exactly 11 minutes into the program.]

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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.]