Talking Wi-Fi Hello Barbie on ABC Radio’s PM

ABC logoThe news that a Wi-Fi enabled Hello Barbie doll had been released got plenty of media interest at the end of the working week, especially since the security and privacy risks weren’t just theoretical.

Hello Barbie was soon hacked.

I was interviewed by journalist Penny Timms about these security risks by ABC Radio’s national current affairs program PM.

The makers of one of the world’s most famous dolls are due to roll out their latest edition. Forget Malibu Barbie, because wifi Barbie could be on shelves by Christmas. The technology means the doll can hold conversations with her owner. But security experts warn there are serious flaws, with suggestions the technology has already been hacked.

Somehow I managed to include some paranoid ideas for using Hello Barbie for psychological warfare.

ABC News also posted a written story, which uses some different quotes. But here’s the radio story.

The audio is ©2015 Australian Broadcasting Corporation. It’s being served from the ABC website, where you can also read a transcript.

Weekly Wrap 266: The chasm of change yawns wide

Wi-Fi: No hardware detectedMy week of Monday 6 to Sunday 12 July 2015 was the first of two weeks I’ll be spending in Sydney — but it wasn’t just the geography that made it unusual.

I had intended to get a Pozible crowdfunding campaign under way for The 9pm Urgent Hardware Refresh, but I ended up doing quite a bit of work on the SEKRIT television project instead.

This is a Good Thing, because it’s fun and interesting work, and the pay is quite reasonable. But as the photo at the top of the post shows, my computer is dying fast. The Wi-Fi hardware fails regularly, and you can also make out the screen cracks. So that crowdfunding effort will have to happen quite soon. Like in the coming week.





5at5 is on hiatus this week and next.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Tuesday evening, I went to Tanium’s open-house demo and drinks evening in Sydney, where of course there was free food and drink.

The Week Ahead

On Monday, I’ll be working on that crowdfunding campaign, as well as getting a haircut, and in the evening meeting with Leslie Nassar about yet another, different SEKRIT project.

On Tuesday, I’ll be doing further work on the crowdfunding project and, ideally, launching it. I’ll also be producing an episode of The 9pm Edict podcast, which may extend into Wednesday. Otherwise, Wednesday is likely to be a day of research and writing, before I wander to Oracle’s drinks evening in Surry Hills. Thursday is also a day of writing, ideally culminating in a column for ZDNet.

Friday and the weekend are as yet unplanned. However there are many, many things that need organising, so I daresay they’ll be quite full days. Stand by. Also, and and all of this schedule may be disrupted by urgent work on the SEKRIT television project.

Update 13 July 2015: Edited to add The Saturday Paper reference, and indicate the flexibility of the schedule.

[Photo: “Wi-Fi: No hardware detected”, being an increasingly common sight on my rapidly-disintegrating MacBook Pro.]

Nokia Lumia 925 and Windows Phone 8 trial: Day 39

En route, a frame from Strathfield to Central: click to embiggenI’ve finally wrapped up my Nokia Lumia 925 / Windows Phone 8 trial. I’m impressed with both the phone and the operating system, but is it too little too late for both Nokia and Microsoft? Who knows? I’ve made a video! You can scroll down for that.

That possible problem with Wi-Fi dropouts that I detailed last time? I couldn’t reproduce it with the replacement handset — or at least not in a way that couldn’t also be explained by the swirling electromagnetic soup in the vicinity of my desk and all the wireless devices thereupon — so let’s just write that off as a false alarm.

So where does that leave us?

Well, to reiterate, the Nokia Lumia 925 is a nice piece of kit, in keeping with the best traditions of the brand. Windows Phone 8 is also a solid forward-looking operating system. I’d been told about Windows 8’s design heritage at TechEd on the Gold Coast last year. Now, having used it for a month, I can see where it’s heading. App developers should be able to do good things with it.

But with both Nokia smartphones and Windows Phone 8 having such a tiny market share, will it all have been in vain? Has the flood of iOS and Android mobile devices taught the business world that, no, they’re not actually shackled to Microsoft’s products after all? That there are other ways of doing things? And that “producing documents” isn’t actually the purpose of business?

Sometimes when I look at Microsoft’s strategy with Nokia, or the previous one when they inserted Yahoo! into Bing, that the two potentially troubled companies are clutching to each other in terror as they plunge, each hoping the other brought a parachute. And maybe they have. But all the talk I’ve heard so far is your common or garden variety corporate waffle. Good luck, guys.

The only other loose end is to post the video I shot. And here it is. Over the fold is the full 16-minute video Strathfield to Central, shot on the Nokia Lumia 925 at full 1080p resolution, and all other video settings on their defaults.

Continue reading “Nokia Lumia 925 and Windows Phone 8 trial: Day 39”

Talking the risks of unsecured Wi-Fi on 1395 FIVEaa

News that the Queensland Police is once again war-driving to find unsecured Wi-Fi networks is doing the rounds, and I ended up talking about the risks with Keith Conlon and John Kenneally on Adelaide radio 1395 FIVEaa on Wednesday morning.

Here’s the audio, and I reckon you can hear very clearly that I had a very bad cold.

The audio is ©2012 dmgRadio Australia, but here it is ‘cos it hasn’t been posted on the radio station’s website. Besides, this is a reasonable plug.

Weekly Wrap 44 and 45

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. As has happened several annoying times before, we’re covering two weeks at once here, and the National Broadband Network seems to have dominated.

For some reason I usually have an unproductive spot of poor health in the first half of April. It seems 2011 is no exception. For two weeks of work this all looks a bit thin, and I daresay that’s going to make a mess of my cashflows in a couple of weeks.



Media Appearances

  • On Monday 4 April I was one of the guests on an episode of ABC Radio National’s Australia Talks on the NBN. The audio is available via that link just there, the one you just read past.

Corporate Largesse


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: Wentworth Falls railway station, photographed yesterday during some light rain.]