Weekly Wrap 174: Newcastle, new events, new venues

Newcastle City Hall: click to embiggenMy week Monday 30 September to Sunday 6 October 2013 was dominated by my trip to Newcastle for the inaugural DiG Festival and Conference. Both the city and the event were well worth it.

I’ll be writing about the DiG Festival for Crikey today, so watch out for that, but I’m sure I’ll have more to say later.[Update 2000 AEDT: And here it is.] I’ll also be writing about Newcastle, because I have many thoughts.

Articles

I also wrote a 1000-word piece that’ll appear in a printed magazine that CSO will be handing out at some events between now and the end of the year.

Podcasts

None, but there’ll be a new Corrupted Nerds in the coming few days.

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

Monday is a public holiday in NSW, but not in Victoria, so I’ll be writing my story on the DiG Festival and Conference for Crikey and, perhaps, a piece that I’ve kept on the back burner for Technology Spectator.

I’m keeping Tuesday empty for some personal reasons.

On Wednesday I’ll head to Sydney for a lunchtime media briefing by Unisys, and I may stay overnight because on Thursday there’s the annual conference of the Australian Information Security Association (AISA). [Update 8 October 2013: Confirmed, I’ll be attending the AISA Conference and staying in Sydney until Friday.]

Friday and the weekend are currently unplanned.

[Photo: Newcastle City Hall, photographed at around 0730 AEST on 3 October 2013.]

Weekly Wrap 167: Productivity returns, in many forms

Winter in Sydney, dreadful: a photograph of Sydney Central station on a bright sunny day: click to embiggenMy week Monday 12 to Sunday 18 August 2013 was quite productive, for a change. As you’ll see below, I produced more media objects this week than in quite a while.

This is as good a time as any to mention that climbing out of the current — or should I say recent — black dog episode is proving remarkably straightforward this time. I think that’s down to a combination of factors. I’ve got a good medical team. I’ve been down that rabbit-hole before, so it’s a familiar landscape and a familiar route home — and indeed that initial blog post was really me starting that process. I’ve had a few professional compliments lately. And the weather has been lovely, which makes a big difference when there’s a seasonal component to one’s moods.

Podcasts

  • Corrupted Nerds: Conversations 4, being a chat with Dr Kerry Hinton from the Centre for Energy-Efficient Telecommunications (CEET) about how the internet uses electricity — and how we might well run into a power crisis.

I still haven’t kicked off The 9pm Election podcast. I really do think I was biting off more than I can chew with that little addition to my planned workload.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Monday, I spoke about geoblocks and how to avoid them, briefly, as part of a package on Channel TEN’s The Project. This was the footage shot two weeks ago.
  • On Tuesday, ITJourno wrote about me, Stilgherrian launches Corrupted Nerds podcast, but you won’t be able to read it unless you’re a member.
  • On Sunday I spoke about future politics on ABC Radio National’s Sunday Extra with host Jonathan Green and John McTernan, formerly Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s head of communications.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Thursday night, I dropped in to a little soirée to launch Malcolm Turnbull’s new website. Beer and sushi was to be had.
  • On Friday night, I popped in to the launch of Dom Knight’s new book, Man vs Child, and there was an open bar for a while. I had one beer. Because I’m responsible.

The Week Ahead

On Monday and Tuesday I’ll be in Sydney to cover the Gartner Security and Risk Management Summit for CSO Online and Technology Spectator, each in their own way. That’ll keep me busy with writing through Wednesday.

The rest of the week is full of more writing, for ZDNet Australia and my now-regular guest lecture at UTS at a bare minimum.

Somewhere in there I need to start working on some income-generation for Corrupted Nerds.

The weekend is likely to be a quiet one.

[Photo: Winter in Sydney, dreadful, being a photograph of Sydney Central station taken on 16 August 2013, an exceptionally lovely blue-sky day. As I said last week, spring has come early this year.]

Weekly Wrap 99: Perth, privacy and poor photographs

My week from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 April 2012 covered the entire continent from Sydney to Perth and (at least later today) back again.

That’s Perth in the photo, with the Swan River just visible between the apartment buildings of East Perth. The photo was taken with my bashed-up HTC Desire phone and processed through Instagram.

Heck, if Zuckerberg reckons it’s worth a billion dollars I might as well have a look, right?

I’ll comment on Instagram itself later, and figure out a better way to integrate the photos into this website. Meanwhile, here’s a gallery of my Instagram photos, updated automatically.

And now on with the show…

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 135, “iiNet wards off AFACT, but what next?” A summary of the High Court’s decision in Roadshow Films and others versus iiNet Limited, the initial reactions, and a wide-ranging discussion with Dr Rebecca Giblin, a copyright academic and geek from Monash University’s law school, who literally wrote the book on this subject: Code Wars: 10 Years of P2P Software Litigation. Keywords for the other things we mention are SOPA/PIPA, peer-to-peer production,

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • I wasn’t paid to present at DigitalMe, they did cover travel from Sydney to Perth and one night’s accommodation at Aarons Hotel including breakfast. Wine by Brad provided booze for the welcome drinks, as well as a bottle to take home. Food was supplied by Sorrento Restaurant, Northbridge.

The Week Ahead

A busy week of writing lies ahead, including a story for CSO Online and my presentation for the Saasu Cloud Conference the following week. I’ll also continue work on the feature story I’m writing for ZDNet Australia

I believe I’ll be back in Wentworth Falls for most of the week, but this could change at short notice. The Dopplr widget on the left-hand side of every page of my website is usually updated within an hour of plans changing, so always check there first — but bear in mind it has odd ideas of what day it is.

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 (or they used to before my phone camera got a bit too scratched up). The photos also appear on Flickr, where I eventually add geolocation data and tags.

Twitter Discourse 1: Fuck off, swearing is my birthright

[Preface: The idea for this post was originally pitched as an op-ed for ABC The Drum, and the story was commissioned by editor Jonathan Green. But once the final piece was delivered, although there were elements that he liked he wasn’t sure that it said enough. It was a line ball call, he said, but in the end he passed. Fair enough. He’s the editor, it’s his call. Gentleman that he is, he acknowledged his initial enthusiasm and will pay for the story anyway. I’m publishing it here almost exactly as it was submitted — apart from adding links to the media releases in question. Unlike the ABC, my house style is not to despoil the expletives with asterisks. I would very much like to hear your comments.]

A funny thing happened on Twitter the other night. Someone unfollowed me for being offensive. That’s not so unusual. The unusual bit is who unfollowed and what offended them.

Around 10pm I received two emails.

“The two government media releases I just received, when combined, indicate a rather distasteful piece of opportunism behind the scenes,” I tweeted.

“1. HMAS Maryborough intercepts a SIEV off Ashmore Reef, 34 passengers and 3 crew aboard. 2. ‘Another boat as Coalition “turn back” policy continues to unravel’, timestamped minutes apart,” I said — and I’ll run the tweets into continuous prose to make your reading easier. I am nothing if not considerate, dear readers.

The first media release was from home affairs minister Jason Clare, the second jointly from him and minister for immigration and citizenship Chris Bowen.

I was outraged by the combination.

“Dear Ministers Bowen and Clare, YOU are the government, so YOU set policy. And the boats’ arrival is determined by the passengers’ need. Dear Ministers Bowen and Clare, any fool who can read a chart of numbers properly knows policy our end is irrelevant. Fuckwits. Dear Ministers Bowen and Clare, we’re the richest fucking country in the world. Show a bit of fucking compassion.”

Having vented my spleen, I moved on to congratulate Russia for trolling Eurovision 2012 and ponder whether, hypothetically speaking, Vaseline conducts electricity. Don’t ask.

A short time later, someone with the handle @ashmidalia tweeted, “@stilgherrian And this is where I click ‘unfollow’. For the offensiveness more than the inaccuracy. But there’s plenty of each.”

“Bye,” I replied and then, to no-one in particular, “I wasn’t aware I was obliged to provide ‘suitable entertainment’ for random arsehats who hadn’t even bothered to say hello.”

And then I noticed that @ashmidalia was Ashley Midalia. The name rang a bell.

LinkedIn soon told me that Midalia is Chris Bowen’s deputy chief of staff. A staffer from one of the offices responsible for my anger! Maybe he was even the strategist in question.

Fuck me dead! This cunt of a political staffer — an ALP staffer no less! — was offended by my language! The poor delicate little petal!

“Well if I’m wrong I’m happy to be corrected,” I tweeted to the world.

“But I still think it’s disgusting that the richest nation in the world continues with this outrageous treatment of desperate people. And I still think it’s disgusting that politicians use their arrival as a trigger to attempt to score party political points. I reserve the right as an Australian to express the true strength of the emotions behind that by using equally strong language,” I said.

“Besides, over my three decades in media Ministers and their staffers have used that sort of language and worse about me so it’s hypocrisy [to complain about my language].”

“My genuine understanding is that the level of boat arrivals tracks the level of refugee movements globally. Happy to see counter evidence.”

Having exhausted my combination of anger and bemusement, I calmed my shattered nerves with a gentle episode of “The Thick of It”.

Now I won’t get into the whole boat people thing today, but this whole “offended by swearing” arsehattery got me thinking.

Australians swear.

Swearing what we do. It’s as normal as breathing.

Our reputation for swearing is recognised around the world.

When I called American internet entrepreneur Jason Calacanis a “prick” back in 2008, it caused a minor outrage in the blogosphere. But Calacanis himself understood.

Coming from anyone else but an Australian, he told me, he would’ve been offended. But he knew that being called a prick by an Australian was just foreplay.

Indeed, only a few weeks ago no less a personage than a Minister of the Crown (do we still say that?) told me, “Mate, you need to get a fucking life!”

As a conversation-starter, after offering coffee and a comfortable chair.

Sometimes a few f-bombs and c-bombs are precisely the precision munitions needed to deliver a powerful message.

When I headlined my expletive-laden rant about the Google+ social network Right, Google, you stupid cunts, this is simply not on! that blog post ended up being read by more than 100,000 people, triggering plenty of thoughtful discussion and even an anonymous message of support from deep within Google’s bowels.

I was criticised for it, but the reality is that without those expletives the article would have been just another ho-hum whinging blog post read by a couple hundred people, if that.

A cunt or two cuts through.

And sometimes well-crafted profanity can be sheer poetry.

Besides, Mr Science tells us that swearing is good for you.

No-one has the right not to be offended. And it takes two people anyway, one to give offence and one to choose to take it.

Swearing is honest, healthy and thoroughly Australian.

Offended by swearing? Fuck off!

[Image: Twitter bird drawing by Hugh McLeod.]

Weekly Wrap 86: Linux, paranoia and a few rants

My usual weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This post covers the week from Monday 23 to Sunday 29 January 2012.

This week included the last of my output from Linux.conf.au. I’ve just gathered all of my Linux.conf.au coverage plus selected other people’s in one place for your convenience.

Add this week’s media output to last week’s and you can see why I’ve been kind of exhausted. Thank the gods, we’re having a pseudo-long weekend.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 122, “War on the internet: it’s all about power”. The podcast covers the previous weekend’s War on the Internet forum Electronic Frontiers Australia and The Greens, and featured Suelette Dreyfus, co-author with Assange of Underground; Greens’ Senator Scott Ludlam; Crikey’s Canberra correspondent Bernard Keane; and headline speaker Jacob Appelbaum, internet security researcher, software hacker and activist.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • D-Link gave me a DCS-930L Wireless N Network Camera, which they sometimes describe as a “cloud camera”, the arsehats. I’ll be writing about that separately.
  • On Wednesday Chris Wood, regional director for Australia and New Zealand at security vendor Sourcefire, bought me a coffee.

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: Three sprigs at Threefold. Three sprigs of mint in three brown bottles grace the windowsill in the toilet at Melbourne’s Threefold Foodstore and Eatery. I think that’s just a wanked-up word for “cafe”. I had the spatchcock, thank you very much.]