Greece is the word

It was an event in October to celebrate modern Greek culture and writing. We were there mainly for Bettany Hughes and Victoria Hislop, but both Katerina Vrana and Greece’s answer to Robert Downey Jr, poet/performer Vassilis Amanatidis, proved to be surprise discoveries of Greece is the Word.

And you can watch the whole day’s events below. You probably won’t spot us, though.

Editing Geo:International

Just a quick note to say that as of the February 2013 issue, I’m going to be editing Geo:International. It’s something of a homecoming for me, since I was editor of Mapping Awareness for over a year, back in the 90s, and it feels good to be back. More details about commissions et al once I’ve settled into the job.

A few pictures of Helsinki

I’m back from learning to be a hacker in Helsinki, which was actually very interesting, particularly with regards to advanced evasion techniques. Thanks to Stonesoft and Harvard for organising it all.

As with most press trips, I didn’t get to see much of the host city, but I did get to see a little on the first day. No snow, but Christmas has definitely arrived, as have the Moomins.




Moomins in Helsinki airport

Athens, the Parthenon and more

We were on holiday in Athens for a few days last week, which not only gave me a chance to try out some of my Greek – now in my fourth year, this time with CityLit – but to see some wonderful sights. Here’s just four:

The Parthenon

The Parthenon

The Erechtheion


The Temple of Olympian Zeus


The Panathenaic Stadium

The Panathenaic Stadium

Off to Helsinki to learn how to be a hacker

I’m off to Helsinki for a couple of days next week with Stonesoft to learn how to be a hacker (kind of). Here’s the itinerary so if you happen to be an editor, maybe there’s something you might be interested in commissioning (hint, hint):

Brief introduction to The HACK THE LAB experience
Dive deep into hackers’ minds and motives – 60-minute presentation on the latest global trends in hacking: nationalisation, industrialisation and hacktivism.

The HACK THE LAB experience starts
Introduction to hacker tools and techniques (30 min) – a hands-on, step-by-step guide to the most common current techniques – and how to mitigate risk and protect against them.

Let’s hack! It’s your turn. We have created three typical hacking scenarios to cover the typical motives of cyber-crime, hacktivism and advanced nation-state hacking. With real-life simulations and technical guidance you can experience how it feels to hack and to be hacked.

  1. E-crime: Hacking into a database to steal user account data and credit card information.
  2. Hacktivism: Spying and loss of privacy – hacking into personal computers to take total control.
  3. Nation state cyber-attack: Hacking into critical infrastructure to disturb the supply of utility services and demonstrate the potential effects on people and society.

After the Hack the Lab experience you can book one-on-one discussions with Stonesoft experts about the threat landscape, Advanced Evasion Techniques and any other IT security issues which are currently on your agenda.

The NUJ is in trouble but has a freelance problem

So the NUJ is at risk of going bankrupt. Journalists are leaving the industry, membership is down. But I can’t help but notice that in the recent begging letter from the NUJ, asking members for help, that freelances are only mentioned once and that’s to tell us that our benefits of membership are to be reduced.

I can’t help but think that if instead of focusing on the massively contracting area of the industry (local and regional press) that is pretty much doomed, the NUJ spent more effort on the expanding area (freelancing), it might stand a greater chance of surviving. Instead, as usual, it wants freelances to help those in salaried employment without their giving us anything in return.

I’ve been a member since 1999 and beyond one piece of legal advice, a training course and the Apple Store discount, I’ve not seen anything in return. I’m not expecting it but a lot of people will do, this being a consumer society.

What are the benefits of the NUJ for freelances, beyond the ability to donate money to salaried journalists who usually don’t do a lot to help freelances (for example, giving each other freelance gigs to help boost each other’s salaries, rather than offering that work to actual freelances, isn’t helpful)? If the NUJ can answer that question, maybe it’ll still have a future.

Here’s the letter – what do you think?

Continue reading “The NUJ is in trouble but has a freelance problem”