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Screenshot from Fox News

The 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixelsA random man shares his fear, a fear we all share. Nicholas Fryer makes life more enjoyable. And you know that end of the world thing? Pffft. The Cold War. That all turned out OK, so what’s the worry?

There’s also talk of gamified urination, paranoia, nuclear war, legumes, gelato, and bamboo. And Nicholas Fryer takes a look through The Arch Window.

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

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Donald Trump before he was President of the United States (Carlos Barria/Reuters)

The 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixelsThis is the first episode of this podcast for nearly three months, and what I foretold has come to pass.

“‘President Trump’, get used to saying it,” I first warned you on 5 November 2015, a full year before the US elections.

Told you so.

It’s not really a matter of careful what you wish for, because I wasn’t wishing for this. I just foresaw this new era in human history. I can indeed see through time, and you people really do need to start recognising this simple fact.

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 subscribe automatically in iTunes, or go to SoundCloud or Spreaker.

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ABC logoLast Sunday, Telstra gave free data to all its mobile customers in an attempt to make up for a major screw-up in the previous week. That triggered a conversation…

As a variety of news outlets reported, one guy managed to download more than 420GB of stuff. Telstra’s mobile network was reported to be pretty slow as many other selfish pigs pigged out.

On Wednesday, I told Vanessa Mills on ABC Kimberley in Western Australia how people could reduce their mobile data usage and increase their battery like. This is the resulting nine-minute conversation.

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This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

The ABC also turned this into a news story, Simple tricks to double your phone’s battery life and halve your data usage, posted Thursday morning.

FIVEaa logoThird time’s the charm, right? My third radio spot on The Great SIM Heist was for 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide on Wednesday afternoon.

Again, I won’t repeat the background, because it’s all in my first post on the subject. But I will say that this is the most detailed conversation about it so far, because presenter Will Goodings and I spoke for 13 minutes.

That said, there’s not much more information than we had yesterday. Gemalto isn’t due to hold its press conference until late this evening Australian time, so we’ll know more tomorrow.

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The audio is ©2015 Nova Entertainment.

2UE logoThe second radio spot I did on The Great SIM Heist — or perhaps I should say the claimed heist, or even the alleged heist — was for the Sydney talk radio station 2UE on Tuesday afternoon.

I won’t repeat all the background. See my previous post for that. But I will say that it’s always interesting to hear the different questions asked and concerns raised by different presenters. And of course my responses differ in content and style to match the style of the program and the radio station.

Here’s the full seven-minute chat with drive presenter Justin Smith. At the end, we seem to have invented a new regular segment. And at least this time I pronounced Gemalto correctly.

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This audio is ©2015 Radio 2UE Sydney Pty Ltd.

ABC logoOn Friday, The Intercept published some astounding claims under the headline The Great SIM Heist: How spies stole the keys to the encryption castle. The story claims that Five Eyes spooks had achieved a major breakthrough in their ability to monitor mobile communications.

American and British spies hacked into the internal computer network of the largest manufacturer of SIM cards in the world, stealing encryption keys used to protect the privacy of cellphone communications across the globe, according to top-secret documents provided to The Intercept by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden…

With these stolen encryption keys, intelligence agencies can monitor mobile communications without seeking or receiving approval from telecom companies and foreign governments. Possessing the keys also sidesteps the need to get a warrant or a wiretap, while leaving no trace on the wireless provider’s network that the communications were intercepted. Bulk key theft additionally enables the intelligence agencies to unlock any previously encrypted communications they had already intercepted, but did not yet have the ability to decrypt.

The company in question is Gemalto. With headquarters in Amsterdam, and 28 “personalisation facilities” around the world that burn the encryption keys into SIM cards, it has nearly 30% of the market — making it an obvious target for spooks.

The story started to filter through to the mainstream media on Monday in the US, or Tuesday Australian time, and I’ve already done two radio spots on the topic — and doubtless there’ll be more to come.

The first spot was an interview for ABC Radio, and parts of it ended up in this report on The World Today.

[The three Australian mobile network operators] Telstra, Vodafone and Optus have all confirmed that Gemalto has supplied their SIM cards. Sarah Sedghi reports.

This is the full five-minute report.

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The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s served here directly from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

FIVEaa logoTelstra is Australia’s biggest telco, and owner of the vast majority of the copper customer access network (CAN), the so called “last mile” — and it wants to raise its wholesale prices, charging other telcos 7.2% more.

“The move would affect almost every Australian with a phone line or an internet connection, because Telstra owns most of the copper phone lines that other telcos depend on to service their customers,” reported ABC News.

“The company leases about 4 million line services to rivals and has not raised wholesale prices since 2011.”

On Wednesday I spoke about the distinction between retail and wholesale telecommunications providers, and whether a 7.2% rise is reasonable, with Will Goodings on 1395 FIVEaa — after independent Senator Nick Xenophon has given his views.

Xenophon thought the rise was unreasonable, because Telstra had “gotten $11 billion” from NBN Co. I disagreed on both counts.

For reference, here’s the current Telstra Wholesale rate card (PDF).

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The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Poster for iloveshopping24hrs.com: click to embiggenHere’s the key stuff that happened in my week of Monday 16 to Sunday 22 December 2013. Like last week, it wasn’t nearly as productive as I wanted it to be.

Articles

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

None. I’m guessing that all the corporate types had stopped worrying about the clients and started worrying about their own end-of-year parties.

The Week Ahead

Well Monday has already happened, and it wasn’t very productive. Tuesday is just beginning, and it’s full of errands in and around the Sydney CBD. It’s also Christmas Eve, so once those errands are done I’ll be turning down the productivity dial even further for the rest of the week.

I may write a couple things over the remainder of the week, or I may not. It’ll all depend upon how I feel at the time.

[Photo: Poster for iloveshopping24hrs.com, photographed at Yok Yor Thai Food Factory, 19 December 2013.]

Telstra screenshot: click to embiggenWith all their constant worrying about whether people would recommend them or not, like this example from Telstra, I’m starting to think that most big corporations are paranoid psychotics — and not in a good way.

The other day I conducted a perfectly routine transaction at a Telstra Shop. I cancelled a mobile broadband service and replaced it with a different one. As with many businesses, my visit was followed up with a brief survey, “Please tell us how you feel.”

There were four questions, but none of them actually asked me how I felt:

Is your new Telstra service working? If you answer ‘no’ to this question, we will present you with options to get in contact with Telstra to resolve your issue on the next page.

OK, that’s fair enough. You need to know that the customer has a working broadband service. But the other three?

When you consider all aspects of buying and connecting your service — how likely are you to recommend Telstra to a friend or colleague?

Thinking about your in-store experience, how likely would you be to recommend the store to a friend or colleague?

What are the most important reasons why you gave us this score?

Guys, this goes way beyond “Does my bum look fat in this?” This is self-obsession. “What are you going to tell people about us? Why, what did I do?”

These constant questions about likelihood of being recommended are a sign of paranoia. I don’t care how you feel, I gave you money. Recommending you or not just isn’t a KPI for me.

How about you ask questions that reflect the customer’s needs and aspirations? Or even just concrete questions about how long I had to wait, whether staff were polite, or whether the service meets my needs?

HMAS Advance (P83): click to embiggenIf there was a unifying theme for my week Monday 29 July to Sunday 4 August 2013, it was Distraction.

I distracted myself with the Nokia Lumia 925 / Windows Phone 8 trial. While I’m getting some useful real-world experience of the two products, it’s probably not going to generate any revenue, and it soaked up a lot of my time. I distracted myself even further by fiddling around with video editing.

I was distracted by delayed trains on Thursday night, sadly due to a death on the railway line at Mt Druitt, which meant I didn’t get back to Wentworth Falls until 0100 the following day.

I was distracted by Telstra’s changes to mobile broadband allowances — apparently they’ve now dropped the maximum data allowance they’ll provision to a mobile phone to a mere 9GB a month, so I was living the scenario I wrote about recently — and I had to trek to Penrith on Saturday to buy another device or risk being sodomised by their 10c/megabyte over-run charges.

And finally, today I was distracted by Prime Minister Kevin Rudd finally deciding to call the election for 7 September — which means I’m distracting myself even more.

Articles

  • So you call yourself a geek?, ZDNet Australia, 29 July 2013. There was quite a bit of reaction to this column, possibly for the wrong reasons.

Podcasts

Media Appearances

  • On Thursday, Channel TEN’s The Project recorded some of my comments about geoblocking, but they have not been aired yet.

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

[Update Monday 5 August 2013, 2155 AEST: This section has been changed to reflect the unfolding reality.]

On Monday I’ll write a ZDNet Australia column, making up for the one I’d intended to write on Friday, and then rum some errands to Katoomba.

On Tuesday I’ll write for Technology Spectator, work on revenue-generation for The 9pm Election, and complete episode 3 of the Corrupted Nerds: Conversations podcast, amongst other things.

On Wednesday I’ll head to Sydney for some of the Check Point Experience, an event hosted by security vendor Check Point. Thursday will be another Sydney trip for a medical appointment and a few other bits and pieces. And Friday will be a day of podcast production,I hope.

The weekend is currently unplanned.

[Photo: Attack-class patrol boat HMAS Advance (P83) (click to embiggen photo), formerly of the Royal Australian Navy, now with the Australian National Maritime Museum, photographed on Sydney Harbour on 1 August 2013.]

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