Fowler’s Assange biography is failing to impress

Warning! I bought Andrew Fowler’s biography of WikiLeaks front man Julian Assange, The Most Dangerous Man in the World, ‘cos it’s a bestseller with good reviews. But just 41 pages in, I’m feeling like I’ve done my dough.

If I’m paying money for a book — especially when it’s written by someone billed as an “award-winning investigative journalist” and published by a prestigious imprint like Melbourne University Press — I have two basic but very simple requirements. The book should tell me more than I already know. And it shouldn’t tell me things I know to be wrong.

Quite frankly, after the first 41 pages I’m wondering whether MUP had assigned to this book an editor who had the faintest grasp of internet technology, history and culture. Shall we run through some of the problems?

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Weekly Wrap 37

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This time I’m making up for the recent slow weeks with a whole bunch of material from the RSA Conference on information security.

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 76, “The end of the open internet?” “I think the age of the deeply competitive internet is over,” says author and telecommunications lawyer, Tim Wu. “The next five years is going to be a story of the big four or big five.” This podcast contains the complete interview with the author of The Master Switch: The rise and fall of information empires, sections of which were quoted in the stories below.
  • The next episode of Patch Monday is all about the RSA Conference, cyberwar, and Microsoft’s call for what referring to as “collective defence”. I’ve already completed that episode, and you’ll be able to grab it late Monday morning Sydney time over at the Patch Monday podcast stream.

Articles

Corporate Largesse

  • My trip to San Francisco for the RSA Conference was paid for by Microsoft.

Elsewhere

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: Cincinnati nerdcore act Dual Core performing at the Electronic Frontiers Foundation’s 21st birthday party in San Francisco on 16 February 2011.]

Weekly Wrap 34

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. It’s a bit thin this week, thanks to the Australia Day holiday, clearing junk out of the house before moving, and the ridiculous heat Sydney is experiencing at the moment.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 73, “Inside Intel’s second-generation core”. My guest is systems architect Benno Rice.

Media Appearances

  • On Sunday I was a guest on the Parity Bit video podcast. At least the recording was on Sunday afternoon. It’s likely to be the early hours of Monday before the episode appears online. I will update this post to link directly to the podcast once it’s online. And here it is.

Geekery

Corporate Largesse

Elsewhere

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: Assange’s Truth is Out There, a paste-up on the old post office on Enmore Road, Enmore in Sydney, featuring WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange and the old X-Files slogan, photographed 28 January 2011.]

[Updated 8.40pm to link to the Parity Bit podcast.]

[Updated 31 January 2011 to link to the Parity Bit podcast on the program website rather than YouTube.]

Weekly Wrap 31 and 32

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets — which actually covers two weeks because of various distractions.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 71, “Avoiding Vodafone’s Wikileaks moment”. Paul Ducklin, who is Sophos’ head of technology for the Asia-Pacific region, reckons Vodafone’s problem is much like the US government’s with WikiLeaks: too many people have logins which give them access to too much stuff. Our conversation covered what organisations should be doing to avoid a disaster like Vodafone’s happening to them.

Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • Donations to the Artemis Medical Fund included $100 from online accounting software provider Saasu and $50 from an elected NSW politician from the Australian Labor Party.

Elsewhere

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: Apparently Not, a no-stopping sign demolished by a vehicle that didn’t stop. Stanmore Road, Petersham, on 6 January 2011.]

Weekly Wrap 27

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets — very late this week because I just couldn’t be arsed doing blog posts while I was in San Francisco. But here’s the summary of last week. On Wednesday. So I’ll refund your goddam subscription fees.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 68, “Wikileaks: the survival lessons”. A panel discussion with network engineer Mark Newton — he described WikiLeaks as “a bespoke cloud-based CDN [content distribution network] that is enabled by the Streisand Effect” — information security specialist Crispin Harris, and platform architect Benno Rice.

Media Appearances

None. What wrong with you people?

Corporate Largesse

Where do you start? This week was all about me travelling to San Francisco as a guest of Salesforce.com. So they paid my airfares, accommodation, food and drink throughout the event, and “networking functions” at the W Hotel and the Palace Hotel. Plus they gave me a Flip HD video camera, a scarf, a t-shirt, a universal power plug thingy and a can of whipped cream. Don’t ask.

Elsewhere

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: A comparison of real American men with the idealised version portrayed in advertising in a storefront on Market St, San Francisco.]

Weekly Wrap 26

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets and in the media and so on and so forth.

Articles

Podcasts

  • Patch Monday episode 67, “Cybercrime: the FBI’s worldview”. Edited highlights of a presentation to the eCrime Symposium by Will Blevins, the FBI’s assistant legal attaché to Australia for cybercrime issues.
  • A Series of Tubes episode 120. Richard Chirgwin and I have a long chat about the National Broadband Network. Was the business case document worth the wait? Is there a black hole in the NBN financials? What’s the product roadmap? And what about this Points of Interconnect issue?

Media Appearances

None.

Corporate Largesse

Elsewhere

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: Low-grade reindeer is low-grade, taken earlier today at the Broadway Shopping Centre, Sydney.]