Talking with Sir Tim Berners-Lee for iiNet

Still from video interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee: click for the videoEarly this month I recorded a video interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, for internet service provider iiNet as part of their sponsorship of his TBL Down Under tour. That interview was published this week — and here it is.

Joining Berners-Lee and myself are Simon Hackett, founder of ISP Internode and all-round geek, and British actor, writer and comedian Robert Llewellyn, best known for playing the mechanoid Kryten in the TV science fiction comedy Red Dwarf.

We discussed Berners-Lee’s childhood trainspotting hobby, the NeXT computer on which he created the web, the politics of open standards and open data, the semantic web, the future of computer interfaces and why 3D interfaces didn’t take off — amongst many other things.

On a personal note, I found it interesting being involved in a corporate video rather than one for news media. Up front, there was a lot more stress (by others) about what my questions would be. Afterwards the edit, which I wasn’t involved with, had to be approved by Berners-Lee’s agents in London as well as iiNet. That presumably explains the long turnaround. Around 40 minutes of recorded material was trimmed back to a 20-minute interview.

In the news media, especially on a daily news cycle, I’d have prepared the interview questions the day of the interview. Then, once it was recorded, we’d have done a quick edit and it would’ve been online the next day.

Thank you, Pia Waugh, for recommending me for this gig. And, before anyone whinges, I haven’t embedded the video here because the videos on iiNet’s Freezone aren’t embeddable.

Weekly Wrap 140: China hacks, Telstra slows, and more

Welcome to the People's Democratic Republic of Burwood: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 4 to Sunday 10 February 2013 was… in the past. Shit, it’s already Wednesday night! I’ll just post this here now, with little commentary.

Well, one comment. We do seem to be getting back into the writing thing for 2013.

Articles

Podcasts

None. But wait.

Media Appearances

  • On Thursday I spoke about Twitter and TV on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.
  • Also on Thursday, I spoke about various internet things with Dom Knight on ABC 702 Sydney. I may or may not post the audio. Although I recorded it, there’s a chunk missing because mobile internet.
  • On Friday, I spoke about The Global Mail on Radio 2SER’s Fourth Estate.

Corporate Largesse

Still none. Was it something I said?

The Week Ahead

It’s half gone, and I’m making it up as I go along. But Sunday morning I fly to Maroochydore for Kickstart Forum 2013, so I’ll probably be in Sydney on the weekend.

[Photo: Welcome to the People's Democratic Republic of Burwood, being a picture of a building in Sydney’s suburbs that disturbs me, photographed from a moving train.]

Linux.conf.au coverage trimmed: January a writing write-off

So my January was a bit of a failure. I didn’t do much reassessment of the journalism and other writing I do. The cancellation of the Patch Monday podcast and my Linux.conf.au coverage killed off income. And I spent too much money. Sigh.

If you’re not interested in my personal thought processes, skip this post. I know I would.

Linux.conf.au first. While I did think about ways to generate funding for coverage at the same level as last year, the time was too short. If I got to Canberra somehow, I could still pitch stories to editors as usual, but cashflows were tight. Then Pia Waugh invited me to interview Sir Tim Berners-Lee for iiNet as part of their sponsorship of the TBL Down Under Tour. Two nights accommodation were offered. So hey, I went to Canberra for a couple days.

I ended up filing just one story. Instead of a solid income-generating week to counteract the December-January slump, it was a loss-maker.

Want a picture? I’ve added January to my chart of stories written, and I’ve changed the title to “media objects” because I’ve added the Patch Monday podcast to the ZDNet total. I’ve also added a mysterious black line. The recent slump is clear.

Chart of media objects produced 2011-2013

So, the current status of my thinking-about-writing thing since my last update?

Continue reading “Linux.conf.au coverage trimmed: January a writing write-off”

Weekly Wrap 139: Canberra, Linux, alcohol and the web

Vietnam War Memorial, Canberra: click to embiggenThe week of Monday 28 January to Sunday 3 February 2013 started quietly, was ridiculously chaotic in the middle, and then went back to quiet at the end.

I decided to take advantage of the Australia Day holiday weekend and catch up on sleep rather that stress too much about getting to Linux.conf.au from Monday.

But I did fly to Canberra on Wednesday, eventually. More about that tomorrow. I spent Thursday and Friday at the conference. More about that tomorrow too.

On Saturday I made my first ever visit to the Australian War Memorial, taking a few photos along the way. Impressed.

Podcasts

None.

Articles

Media Appearances

  • On Thursday I recorded a video interview with Sir Tim Berners-Lee, the man who invented the web, along with Australian internet bloke Simon Hackett and British actor, comedian and writer Robert Llewellyn. This was a project for iiNet, and the video will appear on the website some time in the coming week has finally appeared.
  • On Friday I was interviewed by a journalist from Radio 2SER’s program on the media, The Fourth Estate, but it’s for next week’s episode so I’ll link to it then.

Corporate Largesse

Still none. Something must be very wrong in the world.

The Week Ahead

As far as I can tell, it’ll just be a plod-through week of writing, most of it spent at Wentworth Falls. After the chaos of the last two weeks, that’ll be welcome.

I’ll also return to the near-daily blog posting that I had going there for a while. Probably.

[Photo: Vietnam War Memorial, Anzac Parade, Canberra. I was particularly impressed with this memorial, especially the imagery and the wall of quotes, as well as the true colours of Australia nearby.]

[Update 25 February 2013: Added link to Sir Tim Berners-Lee interview.]

New Journalism: those who get it, those who don’t

Photograph of Henry Porter

Increasingly, I’m getting annoyed with otherwise-intelligent people who simply don’t “get” what is happening as our world becomes hyperconnected and rail against it. The man in the photo is Henry Porter. He doesn’t get it. But a pseudonymous commenter at The Poll Bludger this morning does. And he explains it better than I ever have.

Ah, the contrast!

In a piece for The Observer, Porter’s headline warns that Google is just an amoral menace. The ever-growing empire produces nothing but seems determined to control everything, we’re told.

Exactly 20 years after Sir Tim Berners-Lee wrote the blueprint for the world wide web, the Internet has become the host to a small number of dangerous WWMs — worldwide monopolies that sweep all before them with exuberant contempt for people’s rights, their property and the past…

One of the chief casualties of the web revolution is the newspaper business, which now finds itself laden with debt (not Google’s fault) and having to give its content free to the search engine in order to survive. Newspapers can of course remove their content but then their own advertising revenues and profiles decline. In effect they are being held captive and tormented by their executioner, who has the gall to insist that the relationship is mutually beneficial. Were newspapers to combine to take on Google they would be almost certainly in breach of competition law.

It’s worth reading the full rantbecause it completely misses the point: I only found Porter’s piece because Google had told me about it.

Google didn’t “steal” his content. It produced a new audience member. And that’s what all media outlets produce: an audience for their advertisers — or, in the case of the ABC and SBS, an audience sufficiently large to justify their existence.

Ever though I think this one piece by Porter is full of shit, I clicked through, read about him, and discovered much better pieces about his concerns for our declining civil liberties and how the decline of one-way TV sets the scene for increased public debate. Porter now has a new reader because of Google.

However that commenter over at The Poll Bludger, yes, he got it right…

Continue reading “New Journalism: those who get it, those who don’t”