Replied to The backlash has been breathtaking (ABC Weekend Reads)

Apparently, I wasn’t tough enough on the Government. I didn’t demolish all their scare campaigns. I’m an IPA plant and a Murdoch stooge (yes, that again – for the love of god, could someone please tell that to all the Murdoch columnists who continue to write me up as the second incarnation of Rosa Luxemburg?)


You’d have to have a sense of self bordering on the psychopathic not to take some of this on. Apart from the daily intensity of knowing that every moment of your paid job is broadcast live to the country and therefore to be scrutinised by all, there’s another level of pressure and, yes self-doubt, that comes with political interviews during a federal election. Did I do a good enough job? Was it properly researched, balanced, informative, rigorous? And a natural tendency towards self-doubt will always lend a receptive ear to the clamour of criticism.

Really enjoyed your reflection on the week that was Virginia. I have found some of the responses disconcerting to say the least. There was at least solace in Annabel Crabb’s analysis on the situation. Keep up the great work.
Bookmarked Triumph holds an epic warning for Morrison by an author (ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation))

Naturally, Labor’s shock loss has left the party reeling. But Scott Morrison, too, should heed the warning it sends for his party’s third term.

Annabel Crabb explains that Australia is actually very much the same as it was before the election. The reason for the ferocity of response is simply expectation. Labor tried to do too much. It tried to change the government and get a mandate for massive change at the same time. Crabb explains that in the last 50 years there have been five similar attempts, with only Whitlam in 1972 being successful. On the flip side, three of the governments that survived against the odds were gone at the next election. As Ross Gittins’ has also touched on, Morrison now has the challenge of putting together an agenda that was largely missing during his campaign.
Bookmarked DCB refund process purposely flawed (Whirlpool)

Optus was recently hit with a $10m fine plus must pay refunds to 240,000 customers for misleading them and charging them via their Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) charges for ringtones, games, tv show voting etc etc (here’s some more details: https://www.afr.com/business/telecommunications/optus-fined-10m-for-misleading-digital-bills-20190206-h1axbs).


As part of this Optus must refund customers. However, I believe the way they are doing so is deceptive.


The current process is this:
– Optus sends text message to customer with a code, saying they have a pending refund and to go to this link: http://dcbrefunds.optus.com.au to enter the code
– This site redirects to https://custface.azurewebsites.net
– Customer enters the code, then can fill in a form requesting home address.
– Customer is mailed a cheque.


Upon receiving the text, I assumed it was a scam. I investigated the link, and once redirected to the https://custface.azurewebsites.net link I was sure it was a scam. I then contacted Optus support separately to confirm it was a scam and to my surprise, found out it was in fact, legitimate.


Here are my concerns:
1. I believe Optus is intentionally playing on the fact the original text message looks like a scam to decrease the number of customers claiming their refunds.
2. I believe Optus is intentionally using an external URL so the process looks like a scam to decrease the number of customers claiming their refunds.
3. The fact Optus is informing a customer in this way and it is in fact legitimate will lead to many future situations where customers will click actual scam links in the future.


What are your thoughts Whirlpool? My concern is Optus is attempting to save money by not paying their customers back. I assume the ACCC ruling forced them to contact their customers. But I believe they are purposely making this sms to contact them look like a scam so not many customers will request the refund, saving Optus millions of dollars. What do you think

Another example of Optus’ suspect practices.
Bookmarked What Game of Thrones can teach us about technology: It’s changing the game that matters, not picking the winner by an author (Zeynep’s Eclectics)

As it stands, machine intelligence functions an extension of corporations and power.

And that’s why all the stories are interlinked: from Wall Street to venture capital; from ridiculous startups to Uber/Lyft model of burning VC money till (the company hopes) it becomes a monopoly; from stagnation in wages to automation in the workplace.

Machine intelligence isn’t only an extension of power, and it doesn’t even have to be mostly that. But it is mostly that where we are.

That’s a story much bigger than Zuckerberg, Dorsey, Schmidt, Sandberg, Brin who-have-you. It’s also a story of Wall Street and increasing financialization of the world; it’s a story of what people are calling neoliberalism that’s been underway for decades. It is also a technical story: of machine learning and data surveillance, and our current inability deal with the implications of the whole technological stack as it is composed: hardware firmware mostly manufactured in China. Software everywhere that I’ve previously compared to building skyscrapers on swampy land. Our fundamentally insecure designs. Perhaps, more importantly our lack of functioning, sustainable alternatives that respect us, rather than act as extensions of their true owners.

Zeynep Tufekci elaborates on her post explaining the problems with Game of Thrones. She explains how technology extends the human. In this sense, technology is a system.
Liked How these cities became rat-free zones (bbc.com)

Home to the cities of Calgary and Edmonton, and with a population of about 4.3m, Alberta is famous for oil, national parks and ice hockey. But it also has a lesser-known claim to fame: it’s the only part of the world with significant urban and rural populations that does not have a breeding rat problem.

Bookmarked Weekend Reads – ABC News (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
The Weekend Reads is a weekly newsletter written by Virginia Tripoli, the new morning host for ABC Melbourne. It is both a reflection on the week just past and some mixture of reflections and links, as well as a short list of popular pieces on the ABC News site.
Watched 22 Details In The ‘Game Of Thrones’ Finale You Might Have Missed from YouTube

Season 8 episode 6 of “Game of Thrones” has arrived — the final installment in the HBO series, answering the longtime question of who will rule over the Seve…

I thought I was the only one who thought the end had a lot of correlation with Lord of the Rings.
Replied to

Congratulations Chris. Intriguing role, does it include edu or is it more about business and beyond? Exciting times.
Liked IndieWebCamp Utrecht: Importeer OPML in je Aperture microsub server by Frank Meeuwsen

The import option was not yet there. So I decided to make this myself. Now I am not a programmer, but for a hobby project like this I can do something. Fortunately, I have already taken a first step in reading OPML in the past, when I was working on a Pinboard project .

I could easily reuse that code. After a short read-in session in the way in which I can call the Aperture API, I now have a first, rough version . There is no categorization yet, no error handling, no validation by feed type (if needed) and it could be written a bit nicer. But it works!

Liked Morrison’s miracle election may turn out to be the easy bit by Ross Gittins (Sydney Morning Herald)

Morrison has no policy to control electricity prices, no convincing policy on climate change, no policy to halt the rising cost of health insurance, no policy response to any downturn in the economy, no solution to “cost of living pressures” and no plan to increase wages except yet more waiting.

The day may come when he decides winning the election was the easy bit.

Bookmarked The Real Reason Fans Hate the Last Season of Game of Thrones by an author (Scientific American Blog Network)

The show did indeed take a turn for the worse, but the reasons for that downturn goes way deeper than the usual suspects that have been identified (new and inferior writers, shortened season, too many plot holes). It’s not that these are incorrect, but they’re just superficial shifts. In fact, the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don’t really know how to tell sociological stories.

Zeynep Tufekci argues that the reason why so many fans are complaining about the last season of Game of Thrones is because the storytelling style changed from sociological to psychological.

The overly personal mode of storytelling or analysis leaves us bereft of deeper comprehension of events and history. Understanding Hitler’s personality alone will not tell us much about rise of fascism, for example. Not that it didn’t matter, but a different demagogue would probably have appeared to take his place in Germany in between the two bloody world wars in the 20th century. Hence, the answer to “would you kill baby Hitler?,” sometimes presented as an ethical time-travel challenge, should be “no,” because it would very likely not matter much. It is not a true dilemma.

Tufekci explains that this is the same reason we have problems talking about historic technological transition.

In my own area of research and writing, the impact of digital technology and machine intelligence on society, I encounter this obstacle all the time. There are a significant number of stories, books, narratives and journalistic accounts that focus on the personalities of key players such as Mark Zuckerberg, Sheryl Sandberg, Jack Dorsey and Jeff Bezos. Of course, their personalities matter, but only in the context of business models, technological advances, the political environment, (lack of) meaningful regulation, the existing economic and political forces that fuel wealth inequality and lack of accountability for powerful actors, geopolitical dynamics, societal characteristics and more.

Maybe this is a part of what Douglas Rushkoff touches on in his criticism of storytelling.