How many pages of ToS and Privacy Policies?

So, I started this thought experiment: let’s assume for the moment that government is completely trustworthy, only has your interests at heart and doesn’t secretly sell you out to whoever they feel like. Now, on top of that, what about the agreements you enter into with corporations? How long are they and could you properly understand all the implications to your privacy and give informed consent?

So… I started with when I left home. I got on a Virgin Flight, they have a privacy policy which is eight pages. I then arrived in New Zealand and filled out a customs form. I could not find anything about what the New Zealand customs service could do with that information, but let’s just assume they’re publishing it all on the internet and selling it to the highest bidder. The other alternative is that they follow the New Zealand Privacy act, which is a mere 182 pages.

Once getting through customs I turned on my phone. The basics are probably covered by the New Zealand Telecommunications Privacy Code (35 pages) and since I was on Vodafone NZ, their three page privacy policy likely applies. Of course, I’m roaming, so the Vodafone Australia three page privacy policy also likely applies (of course, under a completely different legal framework). There’s likely things in the other agreements I have with Vodafone, the standard agreement summary is a mere 4 pages and the complete agreement is 84 pages.

I arrived at my hotel and the Langham privacy policy is two pages. I then log into Facebook, 30 pages of important things there, into Twitter, another 11 pages. My phone is all hooked up to Google Play, so that’s another 10 pages. I walk into the conference, the code of conduct is a single page which was a pleasant relief. I then log into work mail, and the GMail terms of service is three pages with a four page privacy policy.

If I was someone who used the iTunes, it would be reasonable that I would watch something in the hotel room – another 24 pages of agreement before then deciding to call home, carefully reading the full 20 pages of Skype terms of service and privacy policy.

In total, that’s 428 pages.

This excludes any license agreements to the operating system you’re using on your laptop, phone and all the application software. It also excludes whatever agreement you enter into about the CCTV footage of you in the taxi to and from the airport.

So, my question to the panel at OSDC was: how on earth is the average consumer meant to be able to make an informed decision and give their informed consent to any of this?

Misadventures in internet access

So, around the time one would reasonably expect an extra tap to have been put on our ADSL line, we started getting relatively frequent drop outs. This was somewhat resolved for a while until a few months ago… when ADSL dropouts started occuring several times a day.

Internode then informed me that “frequent dropouts” actually meant something like 5 or 7 per day rather than “more than once a day” and “this just started happening recently”. Colour me not impressed already. Anyway, it got a bit worse and I managed to convince them there was an actual fault. There were some tests done (which all failed somehow) and it ended with a technician coming out and checking things, then heading to the telephone exchange to do further tests before calling me (they didn’t… and after a few hours I gave up waiting and went for lunch).

So.. things mysteriously got a little bit better for a little while (a week maybe?) and then I went on vacation for a few weeks so didn’t really care what state my home ADSL connection was in.

Now, back from vacation and there were still dropouts. Then, on Friday things just went dead. I called Internode as I have done before, hoping for some actual action this time (it’s now months into this). They would not even log a fault without me listening for a dialtone. There is one problem with this, I don’t have a landline phone and haven’t wanted one for at least seven years. Yes, for seven years I have been paying at least $20/month for a service I did not want (that’s at least $1680 for those playing at home).

I explained that I did not have a phone, but still, no fault would be logged without listening for a dialtone. I asked what would happen if I had Naked DSL (as this is what I have wanted for SEVEN FUCKING YEARS but have been unable to get) and got some rather weird answer about it just being “more difficult to diagnose problems”. In a previous call with Internode before I went on vacation, I was informed that there would be a downtime of 7-10 days if I were to switch to Naked DSL and it wouldn’t be any cheaper than what I pay now (so I opted forgo that as it seems silly to pay the same amount of money for just an added long outage).

So, I expressed my dissatisfaction at having to go out and buy a landline phone that I didn’t fucking want… but $25 later I could ring back and say “there’s no dial tone” and then they had the balls to ask if I had another phone I could plug in and test. Seriously.

Finally though, a fault could be logged – and it was only a few hours out of my Friday and a further $25 out of my pocket for something I don’t want. Then there was the “good” news of when the problem would be fixed. In 24-48 hours there’d be an update – not a resolution. Then, it may take a couple of business days to have the phone line work again. Grr. Luckily we’re not old and in risk of having a heart attack and needing to call an ambulance as the prospect of 4 days without a dial tone would then be terrifying.

Luckily I have a 3g dongle for backup! Also, the Billion router I have has a USB port that will fail over from ADSL to 3g! Fantastic! For the lowly sum of $15/month Internode will give you 1GB of 3G data. It’s kinda useful (cheaper than hotel internet too) and useful to have a backup. You can also purchase extra data blocks if 1GB isn’t enough. It turns out that 1GB doesn’t last very long in our house while I’m working (even when being frugal with bandwidth). The price of a 1GB data block is now $39.90. This is a tad exorbitant even for 3G data prices… so I started to search elsewhere.

Amaysim looked like a good deal: $99.90 for 10GB of data to use within a year. A much better deal, in fact, a quarter of the price of internode! So, knowing that the USB dongle I bought from Internode a few years ago now is just a generic one that’s unlocked, I went and bought a Amaysim SIM card and loaded it up. It worked on my laptop (Fedora) just fine. It did not work in the Billion router. It just didn’t get an IP address.

An hour of fiddling with things, convinced I had something wrong, I rang Amaysim. I was on hold. They said I could “chat now” with someone on their web site. I tried that, it said 25 minute wait… so I figured that staying on hold couldn’t possibly be that long. Once I reached 45 minutes on hold, I also started the website “live chat” thing – it said 29 minutes. After an hour on hold, the phone went silent. It stayed silent. About that time I got through on the web site and the person was rather useless in helping debug the problem. The best I got was “with routers things get more complicated”. I don’t care about complicated, but at least they could refund the money (in 3-5 business days though) and close the account. The explanation offered: provider not compatible with device. This I’d never heard of.

Also, the Billion router has sweet fuck all diagnostics as to why something may not be working. I am convinced that what I really want is an actual linux box where I can run debian and say, look at the PPP logs.

I then tried Virgin Mobile. Exact same thing, except that the guy at the Virgin Mobile store said that if it didn’t work I could just bring it back and when I called their tech support I was on hold for maybe 3 seconds. Even though it didn’t work, at least I can go back and return it tomorrow. I heartily recommend them as my experience has been rather positive and I kinda wish it had worked.

So, five hours out of my Saturday and I still didn’t have a working solution, and have ended up paying crazy amounts of money for data as at least the Internode SIM works when the dongle is connected to both the router and my laptop and not just my laptop.

Maybe, sometime next week, I’ll have a proper internet connection that works… and hey, with luck, perhaps we’ll have this NBN thing at some point that actually delivers more bandwidth to my house than we get to Mars.

Oh, and if anybody knows of an ISP that is like how Internode used to be, let me know.

Why do some foods taste absolutely AWESOME on playa? (a theory)

(I originally posted this to our camp mailing list, but I figured that the wider population of the internet may also be interested)

A couple of things prompted me thinking about this, and I shared my thoughts with Leah tonight and she’s been thinking the same kind of things.

We’ve observed that some food on playa is absolutely THE BEST THING EVER to enter our mouth holes while some things are a bit more meh than they should be. Basically,  we’re theorising that human taste buds change at Burning Man when compared to the default world.

A while ago we saw Heston Blumenthal trying to fix airline food, where he conducted an experiment where at sea level and then in a compartment that was pressurized to the altitude of a plane he had different concentrations of sweet, sour, bitter, salty and umami to taste.

So, let’s look at the differences in altitude and humidity between home,
playa and an airplane:

Altitude

Home: within a few hundred ft of sealevel.
Black Rock Desert: 3,907ft (from wikipedia)
Airplane cabin: 6,000ft (Boeing 787) to 6,900ft (Boeing 767) (or much closer to sea level if you’ve got a private jet)

Humidity

Home: 40-80% (inside/outside my house right now)
Airplane: 12-15%
Burning Man: 24% (average for August), low teens during the day (10-15% midday to midnight)

The result of the altitude and humidity for airplanes was:

  • threshold for tasting sweet is increased
    (i.e. need more sweetness to taste it)
  • threshold for tasting sour decreased
    (i.e. more sensitive to sour)
  • threshold for tasting bitter decreased
    (i.e. more sensitive to bitter)
  • threshold for tasting salt is increased
    (i.e. you need more salt)
  • umami was unchanged

This would explain why I always add salt to airplane food, why at one
point corn chips with vegemite was the best thing ever on playa and why
there’s this odd bacon obsession amongst so many.

This also explains why there may be a preference for less hoppy beers on
playa (or, if you’re me, a desire to try some insanely hopped ones to
see if I can notice an intensity increase).

Also, it’s one of the few places I can stomach US sodas (HFCS being
instant diabetes, but ginger ale on playa/in a plane is kinda nice).

One suggestion (and Heston tried this on flights) is nasal
douching… and I’m actually pretty keen to clean out the nose before
eating on playa because as we all know, playa up your nose is a fact of
life.

I’d be pretty interested to conduct some experiments both in normal
conditions and on playa with various concentrations of sweet, sour,
bitter, salty and umami and note down at what concentrations the flavor
is noticed.

I’m thinking:

  • sweet – sugar
  • sour – lemon juice? (store bought so it should be consistent)
  • bitter – not sure here, all i can think of is hops or Bitters
  • salty – salt :)
  • umami – liquid smoke?

Although it may require some experimentation to find what the minimum
concentrations are. Once we’ve worked these out, should be able to do
tasting and take notes when not on playa and then recreate it all on
playa and compare results.

Thoughts?

“We open source it, and then developers show up and do work for free”

Those who have been around the free and open source software world long enough have heard “We open source it, and then developers show up and do work for free” at least once and have called bullshit on it at least once.

It turns out that people don’t go and work on software for free. They are either modifying software to scratch their own itch (in which case they’re getting 99+% of the code for nothing, so contributing a small bit back is the equivalent of paying for it – with their time rather than money) or it’s a good bit of fun.

So why do software projects that are dual licensed with a commercial license get fewer outside contributions? I think it’s quite simple: people don’t tend to spend their spare time making other people money while making none for themselves. Simply, these projects are left with only contributions from those being paid to work on it (usually by the company who sells the commercial license) and people/companies scratching an itch. Projects that aren’t dual licensed are more likely to have contributors from several companies as then it’s not all-but-one company spending time and money to make another company money.

OMG we appear to have entered a run for MS…

We are team MEEP – as that is the noise Beaker the cockatiel, our team mascot, makes. Stewart is going for 10 km, Leah is planning for 5 km … and Beaker will enjoy having two tired people to sit on afterwards. :)

We are taking part in the 2013 MS Walk and Fun Run in order to raise funds for people affected by multiple sclerosis (MS). MS is is the most common disease of the central nervous system and affects more than 23,000 Australians.

Did you know?

  • The average age of diagnosis of MS is just 30 years
  • MS affects three times as many women as men

MS Australia aims to minimize the impact of multiple sclerosis on all individuals affected by the disease, as well as their families, carers and the community, by offering a wide range of services, equipment and support. MS Australia’s goal is to assist everyone affected by MS to live life to their fullest potential and secure the care and support they need, until we ultimately find a cure.

You can sponsor us here: http://register.mswalk.org.au/2013-MS-Walk-and-Fun-Run-Melbourne/Meep

The Age (Fairfax) picks up on Telstra NextG ‘stalking’

http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/telstra-accused-of-next-g-web-stalking-20120705-21ivs.html

It took a while, but it’s there. There is a mention of Netsweeper and that they provide products and services to Yemen, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates but it misses what these products are really for.

Not a good week for Telstra and privacy

The Office of the Australian Information Commissioner just posted this: http://www.oaic.gov.au/news/media_releases/media_release_120629_telstra_breaches_privacy_act.html

This isn’t to do with what I’ve posted about here the past few days, but to do with an incident back in December 2011. The details of  734,000 customers were available publicly on the Internet.

Details exposed include:

  • Name
  • phone numbers
  • Services held
  • free text field (where information such as username, password, email or other information could be recorded)

The ACMA report says that up to 41,000 customers had their user names and passwords exposed.

So… who had access? I quote from the ACMA report:

Between 3 June 2011 and 8 December 2011, the Visibility Tool received 108 access requests per day from unrecognised IP addresses (IP addresses that cannot be conclusively identified as Telstra IP addresses). On the day of the media publication, this number increased to 20,498 access requests.

The information was available from 29th March 2011 through 9th December 2011 with from a date in October it being easier to access (via a google search).

Unfortunately this is yet another case of internal procedures failing and being inadequate and only when the issue was raised publicly (in Whirlpool and the media) was it swiftly fixed.

It can be hard for a person inside a company to speak up, continue to speak up and be an asshole on these issues. It’s just human nature and after all, annoying your boss isn’t what everybody wants to do all day at work. I hope that the improvements that Telstra has committed to as a result of this investigation make it easier for people to raise such problems and ensure they are resolved.

Achieving things inside large companies can be incredibly hard. I have sometimes felt I’ve had more success trying to convince a dead seal to go for a walk than to get a large company to fix something that’s obviously broken (and everybody knows it). Undoubtedly there were people inside Telstra who knew about the problem yet felt powerless to force a fix to happen. This kind of culture is poisonous and tricky to avoid in a large organisation.

Both ACMA (Australian Communications) and OAIC have full reports:

If we are extrapolate out for the latest incident (NextG and Netsweeper) we could expect:

  • Telstra Incident report in ~2 months
  • If ACMA or OAIC take action, a report in ~6months

 

Telstra has a database of your NextG web activity

So, in what must be my biggest blog day ever, Telstra posted this: http://exchange.telstra.com.au/2012/06/28/further-update-telstra-smart-controls-cyber-safety-tool/

What is clear from their previous post and the pickup in the media (including ABC, Crikey and news.com.au) is that people care about this, a lot.

What is also clear is that they’ve had to go and talk to the Privacy Commissioner, the Australian Communication and Media Authority, the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network.

I’d like to thank Senator Ludlam for raising this with Telstra government affairs which without a doubt helped raise the profile of this issue.

There are a couple of issues with Telstra’s updated statement:

  1. They admit to constructing a database with your full query string and IP address
  2. They don’t address the moral issue of being involved with a company so involved in curtailing human rights (Netsweeper).
  3. Just stripping out the query string doesn’t erase all personal information

I don’t think we can ignore any of these problems, and I hope we get good responses and resolutions to them.

The significance of point 1 should not be understated. This means that some people, somewhere, have access to a decent amount of your browsing history. There is no details on who has access to this (hint: law enforcement could probably request it). There is also no explanation about why this was applied to everyone.

Update: after rereading their blog post, at best I can say it’s ambiguous on if they stored this or not. One sentence implies that they do, another implies that they don’t. Clarification would be most welcome, and given the history so far, we should not assume the best.

Personally, I’m really disappointed in Telstra for at any point thinking it’s okay to finance human rights abuses. I’m also really disappointed in world governments for permitting the sale of such software to those who use it to oppress their people. We should be in the business of exporting freedom and democracy, not exporting tyranny and oppression.

If you have a NextG handset, I strongly suggest the following:

Tor + Firefox + Twitter + (not rooted) Android = awesome

Update: As of October 2015, you should likely install the OrFox browser which is from The Tor Project and is a port of the Tor Browser to Android. Installing OrBot and OrFox makes browsing through Tor on an Android device easy. The rest of this blog entry is left in-tact for historical record, but as of now, look at OrFox rather than this process.

This is actually pretty simple to get going once you know how. This is a short “HOWTO use Tor on Android”

Basic problem: I want to use Tor on my phone. If you’re wondering why, perhaps my previous posts on Telstra and what they do to your traffic may be a good hint.

First of all, you’re going to want to install OrBot. It’s available from the Google Play store. There is absolutely no harm in leaving this running all the time in the background. I have found it to have zero impact on battery life of my phone (the Battery thing in settings doesn’t show OrBot at all).

With OrBot running, you now have a HTTP and SOCKS proxy available on your phone. This means you can set any app that can use a HTTP or SOCKS proxy to do their Internet access through Tor instead of directly through your Wifi or cellular network.

The Twitter client wonderfully has built in support for using a HTTP proxy. You just need to go into the Twitter app’s Settings, click “Enable HTTP Proxy”, and set “Proxy Host” to localhost and “Proxy Port” to 8118. You are now done. You can test this by disabling OrBot and then trying to refresh your Twitter stream. If it doesn’t work, then Twitter is trying to use the (not running) Tor proxy. Re-enable OrBot to be able to use your Twitter client. This “just works”.

There is pretty much no excuse not to have your phone Twitter client go through Tor. We all know that Twitter gets all sorts of legal queries for information about users. We also know that they’ve been fairly good about it, and indeed hats off to Twitter for being awesome. But… guess what? We can just ensure they don’t have any information worth handing over :)

Next step… Web Browsing. The Firefox Beta is pretty awesome. It’s fast and usable (which is exactly what you want in a web browser). This may also work with the standard Firefox browser (I’m not sure when they’ve updated it to be on par with the Firefox Beta version I’ve been using).

There is no place to specify proxy settings in the normal UI (I do hope Mozilla add this). But not to worry, Firefox on Android is built on the same base as Firefox on the desktop, so it does support it (there just isn’t a good UI).

What you need to do is go to the URL bar and go to “about:config”. This shows every little thing you can tweak in Firefox (a lot). Luckily, there’s a search bar. Search for “proxy” and modify the following settings to the following values (the = sign means “click modify and enter the value after the =”):

  • network.proxy.http = 127.0.0.1
  • network.proxy.http_port = 8118
  • network.proxy.socks = 127.0.0.1
  • network.proxy.socks_port = 9050
  • network.proxy.ssl = 127.0.0.1
  • network.proxy.ssl_port = 8118
  • network.proxy.type = 1
  • UPDATED: network.proxy.socks_remote_dns to “true” (click “toggle”)

Then head to http://check.torproject.org to check that it’s working!

This doesn’t provide you with all the features and benefits of using the TorButton in the desktop firefox, but it will stop your mobile phone provider spying on all the web sites you visit (unless they break into your phone itself).

Luckily, Android is fairly awesome and whenever you try to open a URL it can ask you what program you want to use to do that with. Guess what? Just select the Firefox you configured with Tor to open it and you’re browsing through Tor. Brilliant and easy with no need to go and “root your phone” or anything else that may turn people off from doing so.

Update: Thanks should also go to François Marier for his site that helped me get this right: http://feeding.cloud.geek.nz/2012/06/browsing-privacy-and-ad-blocking-on.html

Update: Added setting of socks_remote_dns

Telstra stops tracking, still supporting Netsweeper

http://www.zdnet.com.au/telstra-halts-customer-tracking-339340404.htm

The big news:

“We are stopping all collection of website addresses for the development of this new product,” Telstra said in a statement.

This does not change their association (and presumed financial support) of Netsweeper, helping make its technology affordable to its government customers who use it to suppress free speech and access to information.

See also:

Telstra funding censorship in Middle East

This post inspired by https://twitter.com/BernardKeane/status/217535549731389440

So, we know that Netsweeper is used by Telstra – http://www.zdnet.com.au/telstra-logs-customer-history-for-new-filter-339340337.htm

We know that Netsweeper is used in Qatar, the UAE and Yemen ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Internet_censorship – see also http://www.guelphmercury.com/news/local/article/577673–aiding-repression-or-just-doing-business ) and these states use it to suppress free speech and access to information.

The majority of countries that implement suppression of free speech on the internet could not afford the high cost of developing such software. The only thing that makes it possible is the subsidies from companies in the free world. With Telstra using Netsweeper, they directly contribute to the development costs of this software.

In years gone past free speech was suppressed by members of secret police and guns. Now you can do a lot of that with software. Software that is made affordable because the development costs are shared with companies such as Telstra.

See also my last two posts on the topic:

An update on Telstra’s surveillance of what you do online

http://www.scmagazine.com.au/News/306441,telstra-tracks-users-to-build-web-filter.aspx

I’d suggest going and reading: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2009/09/your-secrets-live-online-in-databases-of-ruin/ to learn a bit about anonymization failures.

What we know:

  1. Telstra has the ability to monitor every URL you visit on a NextG connection
  2. Telstra is, in fact, monitoring every URL you visit through your NextG connection and piping that to some computer system that then takes action on it.
  3. None of this was disclosed to customers.
  4. Telstra is building a system for censorship.

What we don’t know:

  1. If this is a violation of any Australian privacy law (I’m not a lawyer)
  2. Who else has access to this “anonymised” data (hellooo US legal system)
  3. What universal surveillance infrastructure they have running

Update: this is a followup from yesterday’s post: http://www.flamingspork.com/blog/2012/06/25/on-telstra-tracking-nextg-http-requests/

On Telstra tracking NextG HTTP requests

http://lists.ausnog.net/pipermail/ausnog/2012-June/013833.html and http://www.scmagazine.com.au/News/305928,telstra-says-its-not-spying-on-users.aspx were recently published saying that Telstra NextG users were seeing some interesting things. (Yes, there’s a Whirlpool post too, but since they block requests from Tor I’m not going to link to them)

Basically, on their servers they were seeing HTTP requests to the same URL as they had just visited with their phone, but from an IP address that certainly wasn’t their phone.

I started to investigate.

I put up a simple HTML page on a standard HTTP server and then got a NextG device to query it. I saw a log that came from a TELSTRA owned block of IPs. I didn’t see any suspicious second request though. Sadness.

Turns out you have to request the URL twice to get this other request. It is after this second request that you get a query from a Rackspace/Slicehost IP (cloud provider, so it is unlikely Rackspace itself is involved any more than as a Cloud provider) with the same URL (although via HTTP/1.0 instead of 1.1). On a subsequent request, I didn’t see a corresponding one from this IP. Also, when accessing this URL from a different NextG device, I did not see a request from the Rackspace/Slicehost IP block.

If I change the content of the file and try to fetch again, it doesn’t download it anew. This suggests that there is not inspection of the content of what’s coming back from the HTTP server.

The User Agent pretends to be Firefox running on Windows. I have not yet found out anything specific about it.

What can we learn from this?

  1. If you think that putting a URL up and only telling 1 person about it is private you are very, very, very much mistaken
  2. Telstra is quite possibly spying on you, from servers in the USA, which is under a different set of laws than if it was done in Australia.
  3. Telstra is sending what websites you visit on your NextG connection to the USA. If you are at all involved in anything that may make the US government unhappy (e.g. disagreeing with it) this may have interesting implications. Further research is needed as to what exactly
  4. Telstra keeps a record of all URLs as otherwise it could not implement “on the second request”
  5. The iPhone needs Tor more than ever and it needs it on a system level.

Update: I have been pointed to http://v3.mike.tig.as/onionbrowser/ which is an Open Source Web Browser that uses Tor on iOS.

Update: http://www.flamingspork.com/blog/2012/06/26/an-update-on-telstras-surveillance-of-what-you-do-online/

There is a story….

I have a friend who is fond of telling a story from way back in November 2008 at the OpenSQL camp in Charlottesville, Virgina. This was relatively shortly after we had announced to the public that we’d started something called Drizzle (we did that at OSCON) and was even closer to the date I started working on Drizzle full time (which was November 1st). Compared to what it is now, the Drizzle code base was in its infancy. One of the things we hadn’t yet sorted out was the rewrite of the replication code.

So, I had my laptop plugged into a projector, and somebody suggested opening up some random source file… so I did. It was a bit of the replication code that we’d inherited from MySQL. Immediately we spotted a bug. In fact, between myself and Brian I think we worked out that none of the error handling in this code path ever even remotely worked.

Fast forward a bunch of years, and recently I had open part of the replication code in MySQL 5.5 and (again) instantly spotted a bug. Well.. the code is correct in 2 out of 3 situations…

It is rather impressive that the MySQL Replication team has managed to add the features they have in MySQL 5.6.

I’m also really happy with what we managed to do inside Drizzle for replication. Ripping out all the MySQL legacy code was a big step to take, and for a while it seemed like possibly the wrong one  – but ultimately, it was incredibly the right thing to do. I love going and looking at the Drizzle replication code. I simply love it.

Espresso

Many people may know that I’m a bit of a coffee fan. I do quite like a good espresso. These are, unfortunately, more rare than I would like. I know, I live in Melbourne, the average coffee quality is pretty damn high… but still, perhaps I’m just a bit of a coffee snob (oh wait, that’s where I buy my beans from).

This is a photo of the espresso I got at a place near Leah’s work the other week.

image

Joining Percona

As you may have read on the MySQL Performance Blog post – I’ve recently joined Percona. This is a fairly exciting next step. I’ll be in New York for Percona Live next week, where I’ll be giving a session titled “Drizzle 7, GA and Supported: Current & Future Features”.

I’ll write more soon, there’s a lot keeping me busy already!

Big Day Out 2011

Yesterday, I headed to the Big Day Out in Melbourne with Leah, Hayden and Michael. This is after Leah and I had spent the last week at linux.conf.au – which (as anyone who’s ever been knows) is wonderful and tiring. I am amazed that this conference has continued to be so incredibly awesome and am still amazed that I speak at it and that my talks are often well received.

Leah @ Big Day Out Hayden and michael at BDO

First off we managed to see the Deftones. Somebody seriously needed smacking around the head with the levels… it just didn’t quite sound right. I do like the Deftones though, and was glad to catch them.\

By this time in the day, it was making days on the playa seem like childs play. Lots of water and really quite warm. Out of 52,000 at BDO this year, 1000 were treated for dehydration. I think there needs to be giant “Piss Clear” signs here too.

I managed to see Paul Dempsey, who I’ve seen solo once before playing Something For Kate material several years ago now – and it was truly one of the most awesome shows I’ve seen. I really enjoyed his performance at BDO and he certainly has to be one of my most favourite male vocalists.

Paul Dempsey

Next up? Wolfmother! That’s right kids, I missed half of Iggy and the Stooges to see Wolfmother. They didn’t disappoint – it was rather awesome and sooo totally nearly ditched everyone in the shade to run in jumping about.

Wolfmother Wolfmother

Iggy and the Stooges (well, the last half). I want to be doing this when I’m 63. Seriously. One year Hayden said that Iggy Pop was the best act he saw… and I can believe it. Again, awesome.

Iggy

Then it did get explodingly awesome. Yes, this means Rammstein.

Rammstein Rammstein Rammstein Rammstein

There should certainly be more bands using explosions as instruments and midway through fire a flamethrower high enough so that shorter people in the middle of the crowd can see it – how considerate! The heat from fire could be felt from where we were – AWESOME.

Finally….. Tool.

Tool

I saw them last time they were at Big Day Out (and when they played in Melbourne the next week). I’m doing the same this time around. I think finishing with Stinkfist gave a lovely end to the night – and loved how the crowd was right into Aenima. I cannot wait to see them on Wednesday night.