The 9pm The Earth is Flat and So’s Your Mum

This man decided to share some of his lunch with an ibis. But there is never just one ibis.
The 9pm Edict cover art version 2, 150 pixels

We explore one of the world’s greatest coincidences. President Donald Trump finally does something sensible. And we bring you the latest in science.

There’s also talk of Bitcoin, bin chickens, nuclear weapons, and UFOs. And Nicholas Fryer takes a look through The Arch Window.

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Debate: Is digital disruption in the best interest of consumers?

Stilgherrian speaks during the ACCAN conference debate“Will the latest wave of digital disruptors liberate consumers from monopolies or shackle them to new ones?” asked the Australian Communications Consumers Action Network (ACCAN) in the program notes for the somewhat amusing debate which ended their annual conference back on 2 September.

I was on one of the debate teams. Guess which side.

Well, the affirmative team was Daniel Duggan, head of mobile for Yatango; Brad Kitsche, Uber’s director of public policy for the Oceania region; and Brendan Coady from Maddocks Lawyers.

So yeah, I was the final speaker on the negative team, following David Vaile, executive director of the Cyberspace Law and Policy Centre at the University of NSW; and Katina Michael, associate professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences at the University of Wollongong.

And we won.

The video over the fold has the entire thing, except for the first few words by our moderator, Delia Rickard, dDeputy chair of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).

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Weekly Wrap 270: Generosity and some deep rabbit holes

Newtown, with mesh fence: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 3 to Sunday 9 August 2015 was remarkable, because I had so many votes of confidence, as it were. I’m pretty chuffed.

The most remarkable of all was that I raised more than $7200 in a crowdfunding campaign to replace and upgrade my core work tools. I won’t go into the details here, because you can check the project updates. But as I explained last week, having a working computer has really helped my mood. Knowing that I’ll soon have the kit to do certain kinds of projects is even more mood-improving.

Also, at the ADMA Global Forum, I met Professor Stephen Pulman, head of computational linguistics at some university called… Oxbloor or Oxfart or something like that. When I showed interest in his session on the sentiment analysis of textual data, including tweets, I was invited to his masterclass the next day. I’m kinda chuffed that I could dive deep into this stuff after so many years.

There’s a few other things too, but that can wait. On with the show…



None. But it’s looking like there’ll be three episodes of The 9pm Edict over the next five weeks. I’m also thinking of resurrecting Corrupted Nerds.

Media Appearances

  • On Monday morning, I spoke about the Wentworth Falls bushfire on ABC 702 Sydney.
  • On Tuesday evening, I spoke about various technology issues on ABC Local Radio across NSW, but there’s no recording. That’s a shame. It was a good segment.


There were editions of 5at5 on Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday. Why not subscribe so you’ll get all the future ones?

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday and Wednesday, I covered the ADMA Global Forum, so there was plenty of food and drink to be had at Sydney’s Hilton Hotel.
  • On Wednesday evening, I went to Text100’s (in)famous Xmas in August event at the Bavarian Bier Cafe in Sydney. Bang & Olufsen gave me a rather nice leather keyring, and a USB stick containing their promotional material. Amazon Kindle gave me a promo-filled USB stick too.
  • On Thursday, NetSuite has a lunchtime briefing at Gowings Bar & Grill at Sydney’s QT Hotel. As usual, the food and drink was stunning.

The Week Ahead

Monday will be a long, long day. I’m taking the 0706 train to Sydney. At 0900 I’m meeting someone over coffee. From 1000, I’ll be at Deloitte’s media briefing on their annual Media Consumer Survey. Then it’s a haircut, and lunch, and buying a new shirt. The afternoon is flexible, shall we say, because at 2030 I’ll be live on ABC TV’s Lateline to talk about certain cybers. I think I’ll try to have a nap in there somewhere.

Tuesday is an easier day, and I plan to sleep in. I’m finally getting an eye exam done, and then I’ve got a couple meetings before catching the train back to Wentworth Falls.

On Wednesday, I’ll be running errands and doing my shopping in Katoomba, as well as working on a few stories. On Thursday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet. And on Friday, it’s the next step of The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh. I’ll have the final budget and podcast content selections, so it’ll be time to lock in the shopping list, and send RFQs to my suppliers.

I think I’ll record an episode of The 9pm Edict on the weekend, but we’ll see how that goes. Next weekend is so far away…

[Photo: Newtown, with mesh fence, photographed on 4 August 2015 as my train down from the Blue Mountains sped through Newtown on its wat to Central station for its scheduled 0847 arrival.]

Weekly Wrap 237: The week before Christmas, kinda

Wires: click to embiggenMy week of Monday 15 to Sunday 21 December 2014 was more stressful than I thought it might be, for reasons which may be alluded to in a future edition. However I will say that Mistress Insomnia was a persistent guest in my life. I hate her.

But on with the show…



Another full week for 5at5, with emails going out on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. You might want to subscribe so you receive them all.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

The Week Ahead

This is barely even a tentative plan, because it’s based on the assumption that a certain large media organisation will pay their goddam bills. If that doesn’t happen on Monday, then a lot of this will have to change. Nevertheless, we have to start somewhere, right?

Monday sees the Solstice, which happens at 1003 AEDT, followed by the New Moon at 1236. I’ll conduct a small ritual centred around those times. Before that, though, certain urgent organisational tasks need to be dealt with. And after that, I’ll start work on the next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, which has the working title “The 9pm Christmas Nazis”.

On Tuesday, I’ll be writing for ZDNet Australia in the morning, I think, before heading to Sydney for some errands and the ABC at Ultimo to do the 720 Perth spot. I may stay in Sydney overnight, or I may not.

On Wednesday, I’ll be completing The 9pm Edict, as well as tying up several billion loose ends before the holidays descend.

Thursday is Christmas Day, which will be spent quietly because family is small and distant. I’m not sure whether I’ll be in Wentworth Falls or Sydney or somewhere else at this stage.

While Friday is a public holiday, I’d originally scheduled a server migration to start that day. However that’s now looking like that’ll have to change too. The weekend is unplanned, at least at this stage.

Update 1750 AEDT: Edited to add the New Moon time and to clarify some of the exposition.

[Photo: Wires, a view from Katoomba railway station in the Blue Mountains, photographed on 15 December 2014.]

The 9pm Road to War

Screenshot from WCSC Live 5 News: click for original news story

Prime Minister Tony Abbott points to the enemy, and to the difficult road ahead. What road is that? Foreign Minister Julie Bishop gives a clue.

We also determine the three key differences between Philip Ruddock and a mechanical duck.

We award elephant stamps for people who have been exceptional in the category of thinking to the authorities of Summerville, South Carolina, for arresting a 9th-grader for an alleged dinosaur killing (pictured above), and the 20-year-old man arrested at Riverwood on 26 August.

And we introduce a new segment, Ubergasm, exploring the work of our favourite libertarian disruptors. Today we hear about Uber’s playbook for sabotaging Lyft and a tweet from PR columnist Ed Zitron.

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