Posts Tagged ‘geek’

Smoke from what seems a number of small Eucalyptus bushfires rise behind a hill crested with Australia's iconic tree.

Fire in the Meehan Range, north-east of Hobart. 6th March, 2013.

The national broadcaster admits they can’t be trusted, ‘The Mockery’ also tell us how they can’t be trusted, as do both propaganda arms of the ‘”Northern” Rebel “‘Alliance’ (scum)”‘.

The Government have gone on vacation and neither the Department of Premier And Cabinet or the Governor are talking.

With all the courts untrustworthy and no alerts on why Parliament has vanished, at least someone’s noticed a problem with the law.

Just by the side. The idea of an ‘ssl_error_rx_record_too_long Express’ is plain weird and why they’d drive it in to Tasmanian Times anyway glad Tas Police got called to the scene.

Tas Firesigh after how many years, you still the only one for me ‘coz you so… dirty! x

Monarchists note the Crown continues to work and Republicans hope.


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I must apologise, I dropped in today and chatted with a nice young man about lots of digital stuff. I then promptly forgot his name.

However, one of the major questions I had was whether he could explain the reason why Geilston Bay is not in the current build phase. From the attached map, the substation which is providing linkage into Lindisfarne is clearly under construction. This substation is on Sugarloaf Road between Risdon Vale and Geilston Bay. Confusingly, I believe this substation is named ‘Lindisfarne’ by Hydro/Aurora/Transend.

What no one has been able to explain to me yet is why Geilston Bay is being skipped in the build. As I explained to the gentleman in the office, best I can tell there’s fibre about the place – to the extent that I watched fibre being sunk into a duct outside my front door some three or more years ago. I’m curious as to whether this is a mislabeling of the rollout map, possible because of the aforementioned ‘confusion’ created by the name of the substation being ‘Lindisfarne’ not actually being in Lindisfarne as it would appear to me that this map covers what Clarence City Council would consider Lindisfarne and quite possibly not what Hydro/Aurora/Transend consider Geilston Bay. Or is there some other reason?

I would appreciate any information you may provide. In the interest of public disclosure, I have posted this email on my blog and will post up any replies you may offer.


Peter Lawler.


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Followers of IT in Australia may recall in June 2011  it was reported by Crikey.com.au that a staffer at ABC Australia placed some code on an ABC server to mine bitcoins.

Back then, as Fairfax’s Sydney Morning Herald reported at the time, ‘ABC’s head of corporate communications, Sandy Culkoff, said that the ABC would not comment on IT security matters however “there is a serious misconduct case underway in relation to this matter”

During Australian Senate Estimates in February 2012, Senator Abetz asked ABC Australia a number of questions about the incident. This revealed the incident was not a case of someone attempting to use corporate CPU time for their own advantage, but instead use visitors computers without their knowledge.

To answer Delimiter’s question from last year, this would most likely place the actions of the ABC staffer in the class of ‘petty criminal‘ under section 478 of the Australian Cybercrime Act. Today, the answers to the questions from May 2012 have arrived and it once again raises the question whether the ABC’s board are guilty under section 477 of the act – the more serious computer crime.

The ABC will be telling parliament they’ve destroyed logs. The actual quote is “The ABC did not retain the server log files for that period” which leads to wondering how long the ABC maintain their logs and why possible evidence of a ‘serious misconduct case’, or even that of a possible criminal act, has vanished. They will be telling parliament that no record was kept of the offending code “The ABC did not retain the Bitcoin code.” They will also be telling parliament that a conscious decision was made to keep notification of trying to impair computers away from the public: “There was no ABC news coverage of this matter” (this is at direct odds to my recollection of coverage at the time, but I would agree that it would seem there are no references to this incident on the ABC’s own website as of today). The ABC have previously claimed that they “ha(d) not received any complaints from audience members as a result of this Bitcoin code.”  The ABC believes that it’s not for them to tell the public when their staff members attempt to execute unauthorised code on your computer: “The ABC considered that it would be contrary to good security policy to publish any information about breaches of site security as this could reward and encourage hackers.

This is not someone attacking the ABC’s site, this is an ABC staff member attacking external computers. The ABC have decided to show no one – not the public, not AusCERT, certainly not the Federal Police – any details. If you were visiting their website and your web browser did have performance issues at the time, they certainly haven’t put their hand up to say ‘Oh sorry it might’ve been us’. Instead, they’ve hidden, obfuscated and deleted data. To say that such behaviour reminds me of the genesis of reports on the News International phone hacking scandal would be an understatement. Maybe we should expect more of this behaviour from ‘our’ ABC in the future. In the context of the push by the current Australian government’s attempts at data retention, one can’t help but also think that parliament is putting the horse before the cart. It’s time enough for Australia to have mandatory disclosure laws about data breaches. I hope that scenarios such as the ‘ABC Bitcoin Incident’ will be included in the types of data breaches requiring mandatory disclosure.

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To the Editor, Mercury Newspaper, Hobart, Australia.

Whilst I feel for the CEO of Metro Tasmania (Letters, Saturday Jan 7th) about the wishing to protect the Metro service from those inclined to double dip discounts on their Greencard and thus no reasonable notification was provided before the Greencard changes, I cannot for the life of me understand why they didn’t get my email address from their database and mail me on the morning they reprogrammed their system.
Then again, this is a monopoly government subsidised travel company whose website is near in-navigable at the top-level, doesn’t offer reasonable transfer information for interstate visitors (or basic point and click routing of any sort for that matter), appears to fail the most basic Web Accessibility standards and doesn’t let their timetable information to be used in educational institutions to teach programming – and thus maybe overcome their own failings on website and mobile services. For the record, over the past year I made approaches to the Minister responsible for Metro and Education in person, via Twitter and Facebook suggesting a reasonably simple solution to these multiple issues (pro-tip: use the Creative Commons licenses for the data). The silence has been deafening. I can only presume senior management within Metro wish to be picked on.
With this in mind, I’m happier to pay less for this ‘service’ and give good bus drivers the occasional tip for a professional and courteous approach to their job.



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Why So Anger

Sometimes, people say to me ‘Hey, Bleets. Why do you get so upset so easily?’ Now, I know I shouldn’t… but here comes my pathetic excuse.

Imagine volunteering in a call centre for a charity of your choice. This is how user support is in Free Software. Add several hundred, or millions, of users (depending which product I’m talking about). And shake… steadily… for over a decade. This is why my fuse tends to be fairly short. Or at least this is the spin I put on most of my geek rage.

I found this transcript of an old help chat from a few years ago. Tidied it up and here it is for your consumption.

10:52 <us3r> What is the difference between the (software title 1) and (software title 2)
10:53 <co-author> One is a single (product), the other is a large collection of (different products).
10:53 <us3r> that makes it kind of bad to list them together
10:54 <us3r> in the download list
10:54 <us3r> yet separate from everything else
10:54 <co-author> What download list?
10:55 <us3r> http://a.url.to/downloads
10:55 <us3r> is (software title 1) included with (software title 2)? if not, what does it do?
10:55 <co-author> Look at the (publishing house's) wiki.
10:56 <us3r> located...?
10:56 <co-author> You're on it!
10:56 <us3r> no.
10:57 <us3r> no, i'm on the downloads page.
10:57 <co-author> Which is part of a wiki.
10:57 <us3r> :)
10:57 <us3r> i dont see 'wiki' anywhere in the url
10:57 <us3r> :)
10:58 <us3r> honestly

edit: put the ‘usernames’ back. WP ate them somewhere…

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In an attempt to create a singularity with as little effort as possible, I cheated and used Nokia’s AppWizard. The results show for themselves.

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