(mis)adventures in software development...

03 March 2015    Technology

The Definition of Metadata

Tortured metaphors, metadata and mass surveillance.

Metadata used to be such an innocuous, mundane, technical term.

Until Big Government got hold of it.

And appropriated it for its own Orwellian purposes.

In technical circles, metadata is an abstract term. It means nothing in itself. What the word “metadata” refers to is entirely dependent on context.

If you’re talking about databases, metadata might information about the structure of the database — how the data is stored.

But you’re talking about photo files, it might be things …


28 February 2015    Technology

Mandatory data retention: futile and dangerous

They say the definition of madness is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. So what, then, are we to make of the Australian Government’s fervour for data retention? Is it not the government taking something other countries have done and found to be ineffective, doing it anyway, yet expecting different results?

Mandatory data retention is in the news again in Australia, as an incredibly unpopular and incompetent Prime Minister scrambles back to his …


23 February 2015    Technology

Who cares about data retention anyway?

There’s a whole world of apathy out there…

The Australian people are being sleep walked into a system the Attorney-General cannot even articulate.”

Police insider speaking to ABC Radio

Over the weekend I caught up with a couple friends I hadn’t seen for a while. Friends outside of the IT industry.

At one point, when the conversation turned towards politics, I asked if they had heard about the government’s proposed mandatory data retention plan. Neither had.

Don …


18 February 2015    Technology

Electronic Graffiti

Knighthood fail, leadership fail, and many online activism fails.

Australian politics is weird at the moment. More so than usual.

We have a conservative Prime Minister so incompetent and unpopular that even conservatives are having some pretty intense buyers’ remorse.

His own backbenchers even tried to get rid of him. But he survived, so the country is still stuck with Tony Abbott as PM. For now.

Tony Abbott survives to gaffe another day, and if past performance is any indicator of future performance, there will be more gaffes to …


02 February 2015    Technology

The Who Hacked Sony Story

The recent Sony hack was notable for many reasons, not least of which is how devastatingly successful it was — hackers managed to get hold of huge amounts of sensitive data.

But one aspect that intrigued me in particular was the way it was reported, and how different angles of the story were emphasised (or de-emphasised) by different media outlets.

Obviously this story would be of some interest to those technically inclined, especially those working in areas of technology or cybersecurity …


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