I’m very happy with my week of Monday 16 to Sunday 22 November 2020. I made another good podcast. I wrote an adequate thing. And so much of it was dominated by birds — though not so much the one in the photo.Continue reading “Weekly Wrap 547: All the birds, some of the blockchain”
The massive global phenomenon that is the Pokémon Go augmented reality game naturally caught the interest of media producers all over — including at ABC 774 Melbourne.
Here’s my chat with Wendy Touhy from the evening of 20 July. I’m hoping I didn’t screw up some detail of the game, although I’m pretty sure I did.
We also spoke about one of my pet topics, the risks of electronic voting.
This audio is ©2016 Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
[Photo: Ready to go live on ABC 774 Melbourne from ABC Sydney TARDIS 1, 20 July 2016.]
I’ve been exhausted. A few weeks ago I made the mistake of spending a Friday evening in a Sydney mass-market bar with ordinary people, and I seem to have picked up some sort of disease. An infection. A lurgy. Whatever. As far as I can tell, it’s something that’s currently doing the rounds in Sydney. A sore throat with fatigue that’s difficult to shake. So I’m not too worried, just annoyed.
I also went for nearly a week without a computer, when my MacBook Pro had to go in for repairs. That was more disruptive to my work patterns than I’d hoped. Maybe I’ll write about that soon. Maybe not. The short version is that an iPad is just not the same.
And as a third disruption, there was a technical crisis that affected the clients of my other little business, and which took over my attention for two long days. I don’t think I’ll write about that at all, because it’s annoying.
The combined result, however, is that I’ve only had energy to focus on those things, plus the things that I’d committed to do and which generated immediate revenue. Well, some of them anyway. And everything else has been burned.
I plan to back-fill the missing posts of media appearances and the like, but they’ll have to wait for about a week. Meanwhile, this Weekly Wrap contains the links to the stuff that is available now, and a plan for the week ahead. And a photo.
Oh, and I should also mention that on Thursday and Friday I had the distinct pleasure of presenting a two-day “Writing for the Web” course at the University of Technology Sydney (UTS). It made a lovely change from my usual solitary work.
Here’s everything I’ve written since Weekly Wrap 211.
- Do the Privacy Commissioner’s teeth have any bite?, ZDNet Australia, 30 June 2014.
- Facebook manipulation yet more evidence of Silicon Valley’s contempt, Crikey, 30 June 2014.
- Ancient vulnerabilities are geddon in the way of security, ZDNet Australia, 3 July 2014.
- Twitter becoming the latest instrument of terrorism, Crikey, 4 July 2014.
- Big data is just a big, distracting bubble, soon to burst, ZDNet Australia, 11 July 2014.
- Is a second Snowden spilling more NSA secrets?, Crikey, 15 July 2014.
- Government’s voting source code secrecy is dumb and dangerous, ZDNet Australia, 17 July 2014.
- Beware the spin behind Australia’s new surveillance laws, ZDNet Australia, 21 July 2014.
Quite a few since the last Weekly Wrap, but none this week. Watch out for blog posts as I publish the backlog.
Is listing them here pointless? Just head over to the 5at5 site, and either subscribe or browse back through the recent editions.
None this week. I’ll report the rest in the next Weekly Wrap.
The Week Ahead
Monday is about finishing a column for ZDNet Australia and producing an episode of The 9pm Edict, as well as wrapping up some geekery for a client.
Tuesday and Wednesday I’ll be in Sydney covering the ADMA Global Forum for Crikey and Technology Spectator. I’m particularly looking forward to meeting Bob Garfield, co-presenter of WNYC’s On the Media.
Also on Tuesday evening I’m heading to the OpenAustralia Foundation pub night.
On Thursday there’s a media briefing on various information security matters by Cisco and, in the evening, drinks with executives from Oracle.
Friday will see me wrapping up whatever media objects need completing, and then the weekend is unplanned.
And at various points through the week I’ll be trialling a Microsoft Nokia Lumia 930 smartphone, their latest flagship model, with particular attention being given to the camera.
[Photo: The Tower at Dusk, being a shot of a mobile phone tower at Katoomba in the Blue Mountains earlier this evening.]
I’ve just posted the first full-length podcast of material recorded on my Melbourne trip, this one being a chat with Dr Vanessa Teague about electronic voting.
Now I’ve always thought that the whole idea of electronic voting is a bit dodgy. You get a little bit of convenience, sure, but you get a whole lot more attack surface for the bad guys to hit — especially if you open up that whole can of worms of internet voting — and you make it almost impossible for anyone but a specialist digital forensics team to confirm that everything was legitimate.
I was willing to have my mind changed, but in fact the opposite happened. I now think more than ever that electronic voting opens up all manner of avenues for attack that would never have been possible before, with little benefit for most people. And it’d cost a squillion.
“There isn’t a secure solution for voting over the internet. There isn’t a good way of authenticating voters, that is, making sure that the person at the other end of the connection is the eligible voter they say they are. There isn’t an easy, usable way of helping voters to make sure that the vote they send is the vote they wanted, even if their PC is infected with malware or administered by somebody who wants to vote differently,” Teague said.
“And although there are some techniques for providing evidence that encrypted votes have been properly decrypted and tallied, it’s hard to scale those techniques to large Australian elections.”
As I said in September, give me my trusty pencil of democracy.
This was also my first podcast with a specific commercial sponsor.
Stilgherrian’s links for 23 August 2008 through 24 August 2008, with shaved parmesan:
- Medals per mil. Population by Country | Swivel: Sean Carmody continues his data mining on the Beijing Olympics that discover that the Bahamas is the highest medal winner per capita, followed by Jamaica, Slovenia, Australia and New Zealand.
- Ohio Voting Machines Contained Programming Error That Dropped Votes | washingtonpost.com: “A voting system used in 34 [US] states contains a critical programming error that can cause votes to be dropped while being electronically transferred from memory cards to a central tallying point, the manufacturer acknowledges.” Yet another argument against computer-based voting.