Weekly Wrap 290: A cash-based Christmas

Sydney Harbour BridgeMy week of Monday 21 Sunday 27 December 2015 started badly. At 0823 I received an SMS message from my bank, asking about a suspect transaction. Within minutes, the card number was cancelled, and a new card organised — but not before hundreds of dollars had been siphoned out in a series of transactions to PlayStation Network GBR.

What impressed me was the speed at which Westpac detected and dealt with this. The total elapsed time, from receiving the SMS, to identifying the dodgy transactions, to organising a replacement card and so on, was just 25 minutes. This is why stolen credit card details are now worth so little on the black market.

What didn’t impress me was the inability of the broader logistics chain to solve the immediate problem of giving me access to my money. The bank cites seven to ten working days to deliver a new card. So not before Christmas.

The bank can arrange cardless cash withdrawals from ATMs, sending single-use authorisation codes via the smartphone app, but for some reason that can’t be done with the specific kind of account I have. Sorry, but I wasn’t about to rush into signing up for a new bank account.

So I withdrew a bunch of cash from a bank branch, and then rearranged an “everything in cash” week. A little less productive, a little more walk-aroundey. Overall, a low-impact cybercrime, but still a pain in the arse.

Articles

Podcasts

  • “The 9pm Edict’s Public House Forum #2”, being The 9pm Edict episode 54, was recorded last Saturday and posted on Wednesday night. It’s also on SoundCloud and Spreaker.

Media Appearances

None.

5at5

Should 5at5 eventually reappear, you’ll know about it if you subscribe.

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday, I went to Huawei’s end of year drinks for the media at ECQ Bar, Circular Quay. We were all given a Huawei P8lite smartphone and a $30 Telstra pre-paid SIM.

The Week Ahead

For most Australians, the week between Christmas and New Year is a holiday. But not for me. Despite many services only operating Tuesday through Thursday this week, if they’re running at all, I still have quite a lot to get done. Whether it can all happen is another question.

On Monday, I’ll bring all my geekery-for-money projects up to date, and schedule the next few weeks in more detail. Laundry shall also be done.

On Tuesday, I’ll bump out of the Ashfield residence where I’ve been cat-sitting, and run some errands to Enmore, Newtown, and perhaps elsewhere, and then start scripting the next episode of The 9pm Edict podcast.

Whether Tuesday evening sees me settle into Lilyfield, or whether I return to Wentworth Falls that afternoon, will only be decided on Monday. This post will be updated accordingly on Monday evening.

On Wednesday, I’ll write for ZDNet, I think, and finish the pre-production for The 9pm Edict. The podcast will be recorded and streamed live at 2100 AEDT.

On Thursday, I’ll do a bunch of bookkeeping, and prepare my budgets for January, before doing something that can best be described as celebrating New Year’s Eve. Details TBA.

Friday is New Year’s Day, and I’ll do something significant to mark the start of 2016. Friday will also kick off a long weekend that includes, amongst other things, lunch in Katoomba on Saturday.

[Photo: Sydney Harbour Bridge, photographed from Circular Quay on 22 December 2015.]

Talking voiceprint biometrics on 1395 FIVEaa

FIVEaa logo“Two of America’s biggest retail banks — JPMorgan Chase & Co, and Wells Fargo & Co — are quietly recording the biometric details of some callers’ voices to weed out fraud,” reported Associated Press this week. The news caught the eye of Will Goodings at 1395 FIVEaa in Adelaide. I told him that the Americans are way behind Australia on this one.

All of the Big Four banks here are already using voiceprints. In the case of NAB and Westpac, since about 2009.

In fact, Australia is a world leader in voiceprint technology. In a Patch Monday podcast from March 2012, I spoke with Dr Clive Summerfield, chief executive of Auraya, who told me that Australia’s social services agency Centrelink has been using voiceprints to identify callers since 2005, and more than 95% of callers are identified this way. Voiceprints are also used by the Australian Taxation Office.

Here’s a recording of the conversation we had on air on Friday afternoon, complete with a talkback caller who followed me.

Play

The audio is ©2014 dmgRadio Australia.

Weekly Wrap 171: Writing to a realistic schedule

Screenshot of email, reading: "Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers."“They say, it’s all in content. I say, it’s all in the pitch,” said the PR operative — who shall remain nameless — who sent me the email you may see in the screenshot.

“Hi mate, There will be drinks. Cheers,” was all they needed to add to the generic invitation to grab my attention — though in my defence, the invitation was to an event that was well within my realms of interest, and I probably would’ve gone anyway.

I’m more than happy to attend relevant events even when there aren’t drinks. I also go to events that I’m not necessarily personally interested in, but which I know I’ll be able to turn into saleable media objects.

But it was that little personal touch that caused me to spend that extra moment to read the whole thing and agree, yes, this was something I wanted to go to.

That personal touch wasn’t really about a shared like of alcohol, though the unnamed PR operative and I agree that when we meet for drinks we’re just two people sharing a drink and confidences stay confidential.

It’s more that they knew my work, and knew that I’d get value out of this event — and because they do this sparingly, it stands out from the dozens and dozens of of PR emails I receive every day.

So here’s my week Monday 9 to Sunday 15 September 2013. I may or may not explain why this post is so late tomorrow.

Articles

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

None.

The Week Ahead

We’re already well into it, obviously. But to catch up quickly, the Tokyo trip was scratched and instead I’m now in Sydney Wednesday through Friday. On Wednesday I’ve got errands, a lunchtime briefing by IBM and then a meeting over at Randwick, and the rest is still being mapped out.

I’ll pick up the Twitter feed tomorrow.

Nokia Lumia 925 and Windows Phone 8 trial: Day 1

Katoomba railway station: click to embiggenSetting up the Nokia Lumia 925 was straightforward, and I’m impressed with the smartphone itself. But while there’s plenty to like about Windows Phone 8, I was also struck by the lack of key applications and a few rough edges.

These are my bullet-point observations from Day 1 of my Nokia Lumia 925 / Windows Phone 8 trial. You can also follow it live on Twitter, where I’m using the hashtag #LumiaWP8trial.

Continue reading “Nokia Lumia 925 and Windows Phone 8 trial: Day 1”

The 9pm Edict #13

The 9pm EdictWestpac forgets that banks are meant to be about trust, and just bullshits us during a major outage. Sony too. Snake-oil salesfolk tell us gamification will solve all our needs. Bugger the morals. And idiots imagine that Twitter is like CNN, somehow.

Yes The 9pm Edict podcast has returned after an hiatus of nine months. Just like pregnancy. But let’s not go there. Where I do go is gamification, and I refer to the video Gamifying Education and my op-ed at Technology Spectator.

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

Play

If you’d like to comment on this episode, please add your comment below, or Skype to stilgherrian or phone Sydney +61 2 8011 3733.

[Credits: The 9pm Edict theme by mansardian, Edict fanfare by neonaeon, all from The Freesound Project. Photograph of Stilgherrian taken 29 March 2009 by misswired, used by permission.]

Some videos what you can enjoy, y’hear?

Westpac logo

Here’s some moving images on the Internet for your enjoyment.

  1. You know how Westpac bank ATMs have that woman who gestures at you through the transaction? Does she annoy you? I especially hate how she asks whether you want a receipt, and then says you can’t have a receipt. Ignorant bitch. What about this version?
  2. Check out the most in-demand video editing crew in the entire Sunnyvale trailer park.
  3. A currently-running TV advert with a nice beaver. I encourage you to join the conversation there about the use of the word. Has the advertiser got it right for the Australian audience?

Now this is nothing more than links to things I found interesting. Should this be a full post like this, with a headline? A “Note” which, on the website home page at least, is shown without a headline but with a red line in the margin? Or should I just Twitter them as I find them?