Weekly Wrap 127: Singapore, past and future

Monday 5 to Sunday 11 November 2012 was nearly all about Singapore, and the bits that weren’t were about sore throats, diarrhoea and pain.

Since this is being posted late, I’ll spare you the details and cut to the chase. That means I don’t have to talk about the interesting encounter with someone from my past.


  • Patch Monday episode 162, “Mobile OS three-way cage fight”. A conversation about the strengths and weaknesses of the three key mobile operating systems, Apple’s iOS 6, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8. The panelists are Kate Carruthers, corporate IT consultant and founder of Social Innovation; Leslie Nassar, technology director at digital agency Amnesia Razorfish and founder of TweeVee TV; and Michael McKinnon, security advisor with AVG Australia and New Zealand.


Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday I attended Verizon Business’ APAC Media Day in Singapore. They covered my flights from Sydney to Singapore and return with Singapore Airlines, airport transfers, three nights accommodation at the Conrad Centennial Hotel, and plenty of food and drink. They also gave me a Verizon-branded pen by Cerruti.
  • On Thursday I visited Verizon’s hospitality suite at the Barclays Singapore Open golf tournament as their guest. There was food and drink and, since it started raining and I had to get back to the hotel, they gave me a rather nice Verizon-branded umbrella.

The Week Ahead

It’s another busy week this week. I arrived in Sydney around lunchtime today, Monday, and will be focusing on logistics for the rest of the day. I think.

On Tuesday I’ll be writing my presentation for the local government IT conference, attending the VMWare lunch to launch their Cloud Index, and later meeting with Martin Roesch from Sourcefire.

On Wednesday I’m flying to Coffs Harbour for said local government IT conference. I’m staying in Coffs until Saturday, covering the conference and going for a walk on Saturday morning. I fly back to Sydney on Saturday afternoon.

I’m not sure what the weekend holds.

[Photo: Approaching storm, Singapore, a view from my room at the Parkroyal on Beach Road. The green tinge is caused by the coating on the window.]

Talking Microsoft Surface on Balls Radio

My regular spot on Phil Dobbie’s Balls Radio this week was a conversation about the new Microsoft Surface tablet and related matters.

I’d previously spoken about Microsoft’s new gadget in an episode of the Patch Monday podcast the day it was announced, with the deliberately provocative title “Microsoft? Is that still a thing?” I was thoroughly amused by the lack of critical thinking from the zealots who infested the comment stream, but they’re zealots after all.

Or perhaps it’s more that they’re so deeply embedded in the Microsoft worldview, so busy operating the ship, that they can’t see that the ship might not be headed in the right direction.

This week’s news included some Australian pricing, interesting in the light of the parliamentary inquiry into why IT seems to cost more in Australia. The industry body thinks that’s a distraction, but then they would say that.

We also spoke about the new Windows 8 interface, which I’ve previously discussed in an article and a podcast. I still reserve my judgement on that. As I say in this podcast, I understand Microsoft’s argument but I’ll wait and see how things unfold.

Here’s the audio of my segment. If you’d like more, have a listen to the full episode.

The program is no longer broadcast on FM99.3 Northside Radio, it’s purely a podcast. You can subscribe over at the website.

Weekly Wrap 120: Symantec, sunlight, servers and a ship

My week Monday 17 to Sunday 23 September 2012 was a bit odd. It wasn’t the steady week of writing I’d envisaged, but something a little less productive.

I think I was just exhausted after the previous few weeks so, with plenty of work ahead, I deliberately pulled back the pace. Mistress Insomnia agreed, alas.


  • Patch Monday episode 155, “Windows 8: Rectangles for all the things explained”. A chat about the interface formerly known as Metro with user experience designer Shane Morris from Automatic Studio and developer Nick Randolph from Built to Roam.


Media Appearances

Corporate Largesse

  • On Wednesday morning I attended the launch of Symantec Managed Security Services’ Security Operations Centre in North Sydney. They provided coffee, but I arrived too late to avail myself of the snacks. They looked nice though.

The Week Ahead

The biggest thing on my mind right now is my session at the Sydney Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas on Saturday. It’s one thing to write stuff. It’s another to be a performer on stage at the nation’s best-known venue. Sure, it’s a panel discussion of a subject I’m quite familiar with. Nevertheless…

But apart from that, I’m producing a Patch Monday podcast for tomorrow as well as one for the following Monday because that’s a public holiday, a story each for ZDNet Australia and CSO Online, and in theory I’m working on a couple of stories for Technology Spectator that’ll run next month.

What else is in the schedule? I’m a panellist on this week’s episode of ABC Radio National’s Download This Show, which we’re recording Thursday morning, after which I’m heading to a lunch with some bloke from Alcatel-Lucent. And Friday night is the opening session of the Festival of Dangerous Ideas, philosopher Sam Harris on The Delusion of Free Will. I guess I have to go to that one. See what I did there?

I’ll be based in Sydney all this week and next. Unless I change my mind.

[Photo: Stavanger Bliss in Sydney Harbour, a photo taken from Sydney Harbour Bridge as four tugs assist the Norwegian-flagged tanker to execute a turn off Neutral Bay. When I first saw the ship, it was putting out a bit of smoke and appeared to be listing slightly to port. But I soon realised that was all just its engines revving up and a reaction to the tugs’ thrust. Clearly this massive ship needs help maneuvering in such tight quarters.]

Talking Apple iPhone 5 on Balls Radio

Yes, OK, we fell for it. Shut up. We have to make a living, you know. Apple’s new iPhone 5 was the topic for my spot on Phil Dobbie’s Balls Radio this week.

Oh wait. We don’t get paid for this. Well that’s just wrong.

While the conversation bounced off the piece I wrote for Crikey, somehow I also managed to compare Windows Phone 7 to Judaism. You should probably listen before you complain.

Here’s the audio of my segment. If you’d like more, Mr Dobbie has posted the full episode.

This week’s episode wasn’t on Sydney’s FM 99.3 Northside Radio. There’s things happening the background. But if you want to keep listening then keep track of it all at ballsradio.com.

Weekly Wrap 119: Ducks, ducks, sheep and bull

The bulk of the business end of my week Monday 10 to Sunday 16 September 2012 was spent at Microsoft’s TechEd 2012 event on the Gold Coast, and the weekend at Parramatta.

Microsoft’s event, like all major vendor conferences, began with an intense burst of frustration thanks to the inevitable series of overly-long overly-staged buzzword-saturated propaganda events — “keynotes”, the industry has decided to call them — designed to hammer the new technology’s marketecture into your head while preventing the opportunity for critical thinking.

And, like nearly all others, it eventually settled down into something sensible once all the vice-presidents and managing directors and pointlessly-animated PowerPoint presentations and bass-heavy music had been stage-managed out of the room and actual engineers and designers and other geeks started talking through specific details.

I’ll have more to say about that in due course.

Parramatta, by comparison, delivered a delightful spring weekend full of ducklings and food and wine and almost no pretension whatsoever.

I’ll have more to say about that in due course also.


  • Patch Monday episode 154, “Good-guy hackers and other infosec anomalies”. A conversation with Michael Montecillo, a threat research and intelligence principal with IBM Security Services, covering good-guy hackers (well der!), click fraud, his views on the profile of hacktivism following the arrest of key Anonymous and LulzSec members, and more.


Media Appearances

  • On Tuesday I did a spot on ABC 105.7 Darwin, but it wasn’t recorded my end so I can’t bring it to you today. That’s a remarkable similar statement to last week, except that one was a pre-record with Richard Margetson and this one was live with Kate O’Toole. I’m annoyed that the recording didn’t happen, ‘cos I managed to give a coherent exposition of my thoughts about online bullying.
  • On Tuesday I did another regular Balls Radio spot with Phil Dobbie, talking about the High Court rejecting an appeal in the Optus TV Now case.
  • On Friday I spoke about the new iPhone 5 and the utility of smartphones for journalism on ABC Radio National’s Media Report.

Corporate Largesse

I attended Microsoft’s TechEd 2012 on the Gold Coast as their guest.

  • Microsoft covered my airfares from Sydney to the Gold Coast and return, airport transfers, three nights accommodation at Jupiter’s Hotel and Casino on Broadbeach Island, and all the food and drinks.
  • The conference backpack was a high-quality Targus job, containing marketing material from sponsors and other vendors. The former I’ve kept, because my The North Face backpack is starting to wear out. All the latter I’ve thrown into the recycling bin, unread.


  • On Monday evening I attended the SANS Sydney Community Event “Your Security Monitoring — An Attacker’s Perspective”, where the food and (soft)drinks were sponsored by Shearwater Solutions. An article about this will appear in due course.

The Week Ahead

It’s a busy week of (mostly) writing for me, with around five articles already committed to various mastheads, as well as my presentation at the Festival of Dangerous Ideas. I think my original plan to win the first annual Orkney Short Crime Fiction Prize will have to be dropped. I has disappoint.

I’ll be heading from Sydney to Wentworth Falls this afternoon (Monday) and will return to Sydney for the school holiday period on the coming weekend. I also plan to be in Sydney on Wednesday morning for Symantec’s announcement of their Australian expansion plans. How will that turn into an accommodation schedule? I’ll figure that out this evening.

[Photo: Ducks at Parramatta, a delightfully pastoral scene photographed on the banks of the Parramatta River on Saturday afternoon. I managed to get quite close to this family of ducks before they raised the alarm and took to the water.]

Talking Facebook banking on Balls Radio, FM 99.3

For my sins, I’ve agree to do a regular spot on Phil Dobbie’s Balls Radio, originally a podcast and now also a program on FM 99.3 Northside Radio in Sydney every Tuesday night at 7pm.

The first broadcast edition was this week, Tuesday 17 July. Since it was fresh in my mind, I spoke about the Commonwealth Bank’s plans for us to do our banking on Facebook — which I also covered on this week’s Patch Monday podcast.

We also spoke briefly about Microsoft’s plans for Windows 8 and Office 2013 and how they fit into the company’s strategy.

Here’s the audio of my segment. If you’d like more, Mr Dobbie has posted the full episode.

I’m fairly sure that copyright remains with Mr Dobbie rather than being transferred to Northside Radio, but I’ll figure that out later.