Weekly Wrap 85: Trains, planes, Linux and podcasts

A weekly summary of what I’ve been doing elsewhere on the internets. This post covers the week from Monday 16 to Sunday 22 January 2012, i.e. last week. Yes, just like last week’s Weekly Wrap it’s being posted way late because I’ve been incredibly busy.

The main cause of that was covering Linux.conf.au 2012 (LCA) conference. Indeed, some of the conference coverage wasn’t posted until well into the following week — which is this week as I’m posting this post, except it shouldn’t be because this post is about last week. Confused? You should’ve been there!

Now there’s so much stuff here that I’m posting the main body of text over the fold. If you’re only seeing the preview, do click through ‘cos there’s a very important question about the photo.


This week was Podcast Hell. Or Podcast Heaven, depending on how you look at it. Apart from the regular Patch Monday, I did a serious of four daily podcasts from the Linux.conf.au 2012 conference. Ermph.

  • Patch Monday episode 122, “Cyber extortion: a victim’s story”, in which Suleiman Revell explains what it’s like when a distributed denial of service attack takes your business offline.
  • TechRepublic at Linux.conf.au, episode 1, “Three threats and a balloon”. Also posted at ZDNet Australia as Linux should copy Apple on user rapport, which isn’t trolling at all. Includes open source luminary Bruce Perens’ comments on a certain attitude problem in some sections of the community, LWN.com’s Jonathan Corbet about the challenges facing Linux kernel development in 2012, and a brief introduction to Project Horus, which has used balloons to send Linux computers to the edge of space.
  • TechRepublic at Linux.conf.au, episode 2, “FreedomBox’s privacy”. Also posted at ZDNet Australia. FreedomBox Foundation board member and developer Bdale Garbee provides a progress report on their privacy-enhancing personal servers, Red Hat’s experimental platform as a service (PaaS) product OpenShift is explained by its evangelist and open-source advocate Mark Atwood, and we report exactly what happened to that Linux-equipped balloon launched by Project Horus that we mentioned in episode 1.
  • TechRepublic at Linux.conf.au, episode 3, “Cyborg lawyer demands source”. Also posted at ZDNet Australia as Cyborg lawyer demands software source. Lawyer Karen Sandler explains the links between her potentially fatal heart condition and software freedom, there’s part two of our look at FreedomBox, and a conversation with Mary Gardiner and Valerie Aurora about the Ada Initiative, a project to increase the participation of women in open technology and culture.
  • TechRepublic at Linux.conf.au, episode 4, “Planes, sounds and freedom”. Also posted at ZDNet Australia as Linux.conf.au 2012: planes and freedom. Security researcher, software hacker and activist Jacob Appelbaum explains the problem with the surveillance state and what individuals can do about it, David Rowe explains the Codec 2 audio compression software that can transmit intelligible speech in as little as 1400 bits per second, and Andrew Tridgell, best-known for his role in developing the Samba networking technology, introduces us to his recent work with semi-autonomous unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).


Media Appearances

  • On Wednesday morning I spoke about the Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA) and the internet blackout protest with Adelaide radio 1395 FIVEaa.
  • On Wednesday evening I spoke about the same thing on ABC Local Radio with Dom Knight, but I screwed up the recording.

Corporate Largesse

None. Again. All the Linux.conf.au social events were part of a conference I covered so that’s work, dammit. And the stingy bastards at The Greens and Electronic Frontiers Australia didn’t provide any refreshments at Saturday’s War on the Internet forum. No wonder I drink.


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: Trackside Australia, Victorian division. This snapshot was taken from the train somewhere between Melbourne and Ballarat. Can anyone identify the precise location? The location has been identified as the spot where the Bacchus Marsh – Balliang Road crosses the railway.]