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.]