Monday, March 31, 2008

Automatically Adjusting Web Pages for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch

About a year ago I wrote about how to adapt web pages for devices, such as the iPhone for emergency management. One problem pointed out was that the iPhone does not think it is a handheld device and so does not activate a stylesheet intended for such a device (using media="handheld"). Daniel K. Appelquist quoted Apple's suggested code for using a special stylesheet for and iPhone:

link media="only screen and (max-device-width: 480px)" href="small-device.css" type="text/css" rel="stylesheet"

As he points out, this will not just detect iPhones, but any device with a screen width of 480 pixels or smaller. Few mobile devices have web browsers which support the media query syntax. Presumably this will work with an iPod Touch.

I have now included this in my code for "Adapting web pages for the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch". If someone would like to try that on an iPghone or iPod Touch, I can then advise the Sahana developers if they should include it in their system.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Open 2020

Later this week I am to take part in "Foundations of Open: Technology and Digital Knowledge Local 2020 Summit". This is a local summit, hosted by Senator Lundy. Ideas from it will be fed into the Australian Government's 2020 Summit in Canberra on 19 and 20 April 2008. I have been so busy helping organise the event, I have not given much thought as to exactly what I should say on the day and contribute to the main event. So here are some thoughts.

I am typing this on one of the public access terminals in the main reading room of the National Library of Australia in Canberra, while waiting for some friends to visit their tour of the Turner to Monet at the National Gallery of Australia. This seems a particularly appropriate place to think about the role of open source and open access as part of the long term strategy for the nation. But where to start?

Last Friday the first assignment on "Ethics and the IT Professional" for ANU course COMP2410/6340 Networked Information Systems, was due. A student came in for some last minute assistance. They were having some difficulty writing enough words for the essay question (computer students are used to writing code, not English). One techniques I suggested they try is to take the questions and transform it into the answer. So I guess I could start there. What I will do is paste in the question and try to come up with an answer.

A Long Term Strategy for Australia's Future

The Prime Minister of Australia, Kevin Rudd, is convening the Australia 2020 Summit to"... help shape a long term strategy for the nation’s future". The Summit be two days long and bring together one thousand people from across the country to "... debate and develop long-term options for the nation ...". Ten areas were selected: Productivity , Economy , Sustainability , Rural , Health , Communities , Indigenous , Creative , Governance , and World.

Open 2020

The Open 2020 event is concentrating on the first topic: "Productivity Agenda - education, skills, training, science and innovation".

Have to stop there and collect the people at the NGA. More later ...

Bridge of HMAS Brisbane at the Australian War Memorial.

The bridge from the warship HMAS Brisbane has been installed as a multimedia display at the Australian War Memorial. Unlike other exhibits at the memorial, which are hopused in the building which you can walk around, this now forms part of the building and you walk inside it.

The bridge is about the size of a two story house and has been attached by a walkway to the back of the new "Conflicts 1945 to today" gallery. You walk up a metal stairway, much like on a ship and onto the bridge. At this point you have actually stepped out of the building, but this is not apparent, as the windows of the bridge have been blacked out. The six windows immediately in front have been covered with large LCD screens and play two videos, reenacting operations of the ship off the coast of Vietnam and in the Persian Gulf.

The video displays are a little ghostly: they show the sea and sky, as it would appear out of the windows of the ship, with the crew reflected in them. This is a clever ides, but the images of the crew are indistinct. The LCD monitors used are a bit too big and do not fit in the space of the bridge windows, partly spoiling the effect (smaller LCD displays could be used). Also the bridge is so dark is it difficult to see anything (and dangerous for elderly visitors).

The AWM might want to change the presentation so it starts with the view of the sea and then introduces the images of the crew, gradually fading out the sea. At the end of the presentation, they could be faded out and the sea reappear.

More floor level lighting could be used (from LED strips), to help visitors, particularaly the ederly.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Sustainable Sydney Plan

Sustainable Sydney 2030 PlanThe Sydney City Council has released a "Sustainable Sydney" plan, with a light rail in the city centre, more pedestrian malls, and a green corridor. However, before you get too excited, this is a plan for 2030 and is a long way from being funded or implemented.
  • Appendices

  • Unfortunately the City of Sydney has created a very difficult to use web site for the plan. The council seems to have gone out of its way to make the document hard to find and read. The web site states: "Accessible versions of the Sustainable Sydney 2030 document will be made available here shortly." This is contrary to the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

    Tender for Government Emissions Trading Scheme

    The New Zealand government has issued a request for "Outsourcing of Administrative Functions for the Emissions Trading Scheme (Forestry)". This is a good application for Internet technology (Australia is also to use a "internet auction platform"). To get the details you have to register with the NZ Government Electronic Tenders Service.
    The Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry (“MAF”) wishes to contract with an outsource partner for the provision of certain Contact Centre and Transaction Processing services to support the Emissions Trading Scheme (“ETS”) announced by the Government.

    As a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, New Zealand has an obligation to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels through the period 2008 – 2012, or take responsibility for any excess emissions. As part of its management regime, the Government has decided to implement an economy wide Emissions Trading Scheme (“ETS”).

    On enactment of the legislation, the forestry sector (the first of five sectors) can join the ETS with effect from 1 January 2008. New Zealand will be the first country in the world to bring forestry into an economy wide emissions trading scheme.

    The Ministry of Economic Development (“MED”) will have overall responsibility for ETS administration and MAF will administer the forest specific aspects of the scheme (“ETS (Forestry)”) under delegated authority from the Chief Executive of MED.

    MAF expects that there will be high levels of activity through both the Contact Centre and the Transaction Processing Centre in the first eighteen months of operation. Forest landowners will be seeking information about the scheme, and applying to join, or seeking to be exempt. Some will be applying for free carbon credits being issued by the Government. After that initial period there will be a lower steady state of activity, dealing with notifications of change and processing of emission returns.

    Whilst not a part of this Request for Proposal, MAF is also responsible for the operation of other forestry schemes and, over time, will be seeking to align the administration of these with the administration of the ETS (Forestry).

    MAF is seeking a “best of class” service from an experienced outsource partner, capable enabling MAF to meet its business objectives for ETS (Forestry) and of dealing with uneven flows of activity. ...

    From: "Outsourcing of Administrative Functions for the Emissions Trading Scheme (Forestry)", Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry, 2008

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Secure Web Collaboration Across Government and Industry

    The March Canberra WIPA/WSG meeting, today discussed government use of web based collaboration, including for sensitive matters at Cabinet level.

    Brian Stonebridge, Department Finance and Deregulation
    Topic 1: GovDex: a tool to support collaboration across government agencies

    Brian Stonebridge talked about how to invest in ICT facilities which did not need to be kept adding to respond to government policy. The particular example was GovDex. A five nation collaboration workspace was demonstrated. This provides support for meetings between governments. Another example was support for the Australian Government ICT Standrads Group. One hot topic this is being used for is to establish the Australian Government position on OOXML (a position has been decided, but not released). Another demonstration was for communicating to new graduate staff. GovDex is secured to IN-CONFIDENCE level of security (PROTECTED cabinet level security and video is planned for GovDex 2).

    My first thought was that the tools demonstrated would appear primitive to a group of teenagers organizing their social lives: Surely the Australian Government has something more advanced? Some of the discussion seemed very quaint and last century, for example pointing out that not all graduates may be working in Canberra and the Internet could be used to contact them. In the 21st Century the assumption that staff would be in a particular city, seems an odd one. I would have thought that a 21st century organization would make no assumptions as to where in the world there staff were working from. But the use of such tools need to be learned and also the government's security and public policy issues are difficult ones which most users do not face.

    AGIMO is taking a gradual approach of fitting the tools into the usual bureaucratic processes. Ultimately this approach will not work: the processes will need to be changed to improve productivity. The main value of GovDex and similar tools will ultimately come from facilitating the change in these processes.

    While I have been a registered GovDex user for some time (they let government consultants in), this talk was still very useful for me. I had the impression that GovDex was just for computer projects. Brian pointed out it can be used for any government project which needs secure collaboration. An example of this is that in the morning I was asked how a wiki could be provided to support the Australian Government's Review of the National Innovation System. My immediate reaction was to say "you can't do that, bureaucrats are not allowed to use wikis" (altought I teach them how to in an ANU course). But GovDex should be ideal for this providing the needed collaboration, but within a structure which supports the needs of government policy development.

    Michele Huston, National Library of Australia
    Topic 2: Wikis at work

    Michele Huston talked about how wikis work in practice, with people initially experimenting and then settling down to organize their information. She discussed problems with the technology, including the editor. She suggested the simple editor has advantages in encouraging people to use simple designs (and at least having to work with wiki markup).

    She pointed out a wiki is not intended as an archive, publishing work flow, secure documents or for blogging. These should rightly be done with other tools, although they can be interfaced.

    Hi-tech conference, training and decision support Center for Canberra?

    Rendering of the TEAL classroom at MITA new conference facility is being considered as part of the re-development the western edge of Canberra's CBD. The developers have asked for input for what might be built, so I have suggested a hi-tech conference center which can also be used for computer based training courses and computer assisted meetings. The facility could also double as a emergency incident-response center for government and industry, when required.

    A new purpose-built conference facility could be available to the ANU community as part of the development of ANU Exchange.

    Members of the ANU community are encouraged to provide input to a market assessment for a new facility to be available to both internal and external users to be undertaken by an external consultant. The project will look at aspects such as:

    * The market in Canberra, recognising the availability of existing conference facilities;
    * Demand within ANU;
    * Competitive positioning of a possible centre in the Canberra market;
    * Recommended size, configuration, features and facilities of a possible centre;
    * The impact of the quality, availability and accessibility of accommodation in the vicinity on the viability of a conference centre in the ANU Exchange;
    * Critical success factors for such a conference centre.

    Input from the ANU community is invited, actively encouraged and very welcome.

    The consultant, Mike Williams of Gary Grimmer and Company, will be available 2-4 April 2008. If you would like to meet with the consultant to make an input, please email or contact Marion Mapham on x55003 to make an appointment.

    From: City West Redevelopment, On Campus magazine, ANU, 26 March 2008
    I help organize some events for the Australian Computer Society and occasionally run short commercial courses for ANU and industry courses, which need a venue. Also when consulting to government on ICT policy, as I did recently on broadband policy, it would be useful to have a computer equipped meeting room, so that views could be quickly collected.

    Conference Center Requirements

    As well as allowing for conferences of a few hundred people, it would be useful to have a facility for computer assisted business meetings and commercial training courses. Currently if you want to have a hi-tech event, you have to bring the hi-tech yourself, or go to the trouble and expense of hiring it and having it installed.

    University of Melbourne Chemistry Learning LabSome smaller rooms could be very useful for computer training courses and computer meditated planning meetings for government and company people, using Grouputer and iMeet. Course Management Systems, such as Moodle and Sakai, were designed for e-learning, but could also be used in computer supported decision making and in blended learning.

    Previously equipping training or meeting rooms with computers for every participant was an expensive process and maintenance was complex. The equipment cost thousands of dollars per seat, needed constant attention and had to be upgraded each year. But new "thin client" Linux computers have reduced the cost to around $500 per seat. These only need basic free software installed, with all the complex stuff being hosted remotely over the Internet. The computers are about the size of a cigar box and can be installed in, or on the back of, LCD monitors, removing lots of boxes and wires from the desktop (and making the equipment harder to steal).

    Such a conference center could combine the features of an MIT TEAL room and Studio Based Learning. This would have a large central room of about 280 square metres, with a flat floor. This could seat 100 people cabaret style at round tables, or about 250 theater style. All the walls would have video screens built in and there would be provision for shared computers at all the tables. The presenters could be either on a stage at the front, on in the middle, cabaret style.

    Smaller rooms (about 6 x 9 m) would seat two dozen people each when seated at a computer, or more if used without computers. The smaller rooms could be dual purpose for board room style discussion and individual work (some rooms without tables could hold bigger groups). The rooms would be equipped with video screens on the walls and be capable of being computer equipped. I ran a short course for two dozen public servants, organized by ANU, using a computer science lab last year in such a mode.

    The center would also have a cafe style area, with a bench for use of laptops, and tables for informal meetings.

    Emergency incident-response center
    A tertary use for a the conference center could be as an emergency incident-response center for government and industry. Such facilities have a large central room with video screens, surrounded by smaller rooms. The layout is much the same as a conference center, but the average conference center would not have enough provision for phones or power. The thin client computers are capable as acting as VOIP telephones and so could provide the needed facilities.

    An emergency center would normally also have specialized facilities for security and emergency power and telecommunications. It would not be feasible to build these into a conference centre, on the off chance they might be needed. But the center could be "built for, but not with" (in mil-speak). So the building would not have a backup power generator, but would have a socket on the outside wall where a portable generator could be plugged in. The wall and roof would have data sockets where portable satellite earth stations and wireless terrestrial links could be connected. The layout of the center would be designed for crime prevention through environmental design (CPED), to provide unobtrusive built in security, which could be supplemented with security guards and metal detectors to screen visitors, when required.

    For more on this see:

    Books on:

    Using the web for travel planning

    In a few months time I am off on a trip overseas, so I thought I would do some research on the web of places to visit. Google Maps is useful for finding your way around cities, but less useful for small villages. I found that in a city it would identify down to individual buildings, but outside the city there were large blanks. Looking up online news stories is also useful for finding out what is of interest. One surprise I had was finding a story about guerrillas killing four people and shooting up the town hall of where I was planning to visit. This was worrying, until I noticed the news item was from 1947 (the newspaper had put its archives online).

    One frustration is that mapping services tend to be for people in cars, not pedestrians and public transport users. Also smaller venues have less than useful web sites. You may get a short description and a blurry scanned map, but no way to book online and it can be difficult to find the contact details. While airlines have web based timetables and booking, railways still tend to give you a hard to follow timetable and then an off-line booking system.

    Wednesday, March 26, 2008

    Intellectual Property for innovation

    Andrew BlattmanAndrew Blattman from SPRUSON & FERGUSON Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, talked on Wednesday 26th March 2008 in Canberra at the second of the Innovation ANU: a staged business and commercialization development seminars. He talked about what patents are and what they are for.

    There were about 80 people at this event, many kore than the first seminar. As Dr. Blattman pointed out, this is a large event for a relatively dry subject like patents. The excellent free drinks beforehand may have helped. But I suspect that the idea that students and staff of the university could win thousand of dollars for a bight idea and have access to millions of dollars in venture capital has spread by word of month.

    Researchers probably think that IP protection is limited to very tangible inventions, but Dr. Blattman pointed out that particular shades of the color purple has been trademarked, as have made up words and shapes of pharmaceutical tablets. Other IP protect, such as plan breeders rights, and copyright, are available. Different forms of IP, provide different protection. Patents provide protection for the first to patent, whereas copyright and trade secrets will not protect from independent invention.

    A patent provides a monopoly for 20 years. In return, the details of the patent must by published within 18 months. The details of patents are available online. There are 45 references to the ANU at the United States Patent and Trademark Office.

    the US The process of applying is complex and takes time.

    As Dr. Blattman pointed out, there is no exemption from patents for researchers. So researchers need to be aware of patents, as it might stop them using a process in their research, even one they invented.

    Business processes can now be patented (I have consulted on some business process patent applications).

    To get a patent, the application must be for something legal , useful and not obvious to someone skilled in the field. This can include methods of medical treatment. Patents can be taken out on processes which may not be highly valued, that is for the market to decide. The patent office will search to see if the invention had been previously published. It is important to realize that if the inventor publishes details of the invention before patenting it, this will likely prevent it being patented.

    Usually competitors will wait to see if a patent is valuable, before taking legal action to have it invalidated.

    More than one patent can be taken out, for example for a formula, how the substance is made, how it is used. The patent does not need to be for a fundamental breakthrough, it can be for a small incremental improvement in some existing process.

    There is an important difference between US and most other areas, in that it is "first to invent", that is who can show they invented first gets the patent. Most other places it is first to lodge the patent. It is therefore important to keep good records.

    Slides and audio of Dr. Blattman's talk will be available.

    ps: The ANU has a very readable and useful 34 page "Manual for the use of ANU Intellectual Property", which includes a flowchart explaining the process. Under this: "... the ANU claims ownership of IP generated by its staff in the course of their employment duties. Students at the ANU own the IP generated by them during their studies.".

    The ANU manual also emphasizes the use of laboratory notebooks, to provide evidence of an invention. Unfortunately the manual is out of date. It assumes that written records of research notes are printed on paper and that laboratory notebooks are not electronic. The advice that "It is preferable to make regular hard copy print out of results and paste them into the laboratory notebooks" is unworkable. The ANU needs to revise the manual to provide realistic advice on keeping legally admissible electronic records.

    Also the manual does not mention open source or creative commons type licenses.

    Also the name of the ANU's commercialization arm which was ANUTECH, needs to be changed to the name adopted in 2004: ANU Enterprise Pty Ltd (this seems to have been missed in the 2006 review of the manual).

    Teleworking talk, Canberra,

    The Australian Computer Society is having a talk on Teleworking by Bevis England from Telework Australia on 9 April:
    Australian Computer Society

    with Telework Australia's Bevis England

    Wednesday 9th April 2008

    Telework is an innovative and flexible working practise that delivers many business benefits.

    In 2004 the Australian Government established a telework taskforce to advise on the options and impediments to the development of telework for employees and businesses. This taskforce, the Australian Telework Advisory Committee (ATAC), had it's final meeting in February 2006 at which it recommended that Government encourage the growth of telework. In support of the recommendations made by ATAC, the Telework Australia resource centre was established to help promote the benefits which telework can deliver to business.

    So what is Telework? At it's simplest, Telework 'work from a distance' but it covers a wide range of work forms and can have many names. It is about people; how they work, how they interact and how they prepare for an increasingly changing world. And it's about flexibility: flexible work locations and work times, flexible management structures and flexible responses to the challenges of change.

    In this session, Telework's Bevis England will clarify many of the misunderstandings surrounding telework and explain just why there is such a need for flexibility in the workplace as well as discussing the the role that telework can play in providing that flexibility and its many benefits to organisations.


    Bevis England

    New Zealand born Bevis England was educated in New Zealand and Australia, gaining a degree (Politics) from the University of Western Australian in 1976. He then lived and worked in Scotland and Hong Kong with extensive travel throughout Europe, the USA and Asia before returning to New Zealand in 1986.

    Bevis started working in the "Telework" field in 1989, researching, studying and and promoting the concept to individuals, companies, communities and Governments.

    Telework New Zealand was established in 1997 to provide a wide range of services in the telework field and was contacted by the Australian Federal Government to produce and manage the Telework Australia initiative in early 2007.

    E-voting in the Australian Capital Territory

    The ACT Electoral Commissioner will be talking on 9 April 2008 about the e-voting system used in Canberra:
    ACT Society for Technology and the Law presentation

    E-voting; casting votes or casting doubt?

    Technology is supposed to make our lives easier - particularly in the case of computers, which perform procedural and repetitive tasks faster and more accurately than any person could hope to achieve. Except, it seems, when it comes to counting votes.

    While electronic voting has been used in a number of countries for years without incident, in other jurisdictions (particularly the United States) it has generated all sorts of controversy. From allegations of corporate bias and even fraud, to fiascos over hanging chads and disenfranchised voters, to fears of 'hackers' usurping the very foundation of democracy, poorly-designed e-voting systems can create more problems than they solve. Is it possible to create a system that just works?

    The ACT Electoral Commissioner, Phillip Green, thinks it is possible. In fact, he's got just such a system and it has been working quietly and effectively for the past four years. Join us as he presents an overview of the challenges (and solutions) that confronted the ACT when it took its first steps into the e-voting world, and how the resulting eVACS open-source system is at the forefront of best-practice e-voting solutions.

    Date: Wednesday 9 April 2008
    Time: 12:30 - 1:30 pm


    Murray-Darling Conference Room
    Australian Government Solicitor
    50 Blackall Street
    Barton ACT

    RSVP: by Friday 4 April to <>
    Sandwich lunch provided.

    For inquiries, please contact <>

    Making housing affordable

    The NZ government has issued a request for proposals for research on investment in housing: "Research on institutional investment in residential rental accommodation" (DBH08/03/2, Department of Building and Housing). The issue is that, like Australia, home ownership is declining in New Zealand, making rental housing more important. Like Australia, private companies tend not to invest in rental property, it is mostly private investors with one or two properties or government or non-profit social housing.

    The NZ Government want to work out why companies don;t invest and how to encourage them. This research would therefore seem to be applicable to Australia, where the government is considering how to provide tax incentives for such investments.

    NZ have done quite a bit of work already in this area, with the Final Report of the House Prices Unit: House Price Increases and Housing in New Zealand , (March 2008), New Zealand Housing Strategy, and Policy proposals for Housing market (Cabinet Minute 1 February 200), Increasing choices and reducing costs in the housing market Cabinet 3 March 2008).

    The NZ RFP mentions the Australian Federal Government's National Rental Affordability Scheme. This aims to provide 100,000 new rental properties by tax credits of $6000 a year for 10 years. The provider has to rent the homes at 20 per cent below market rates. State Governments will provide an extra $2000. However, there does not appear to be any research to show if this incentive will produce the desired outcome. So the NZ research could be very useful for Australia.

    Open Source Low Cost Housing Proposal

    One way to make housing affordable would be to reduce the cost of homes, by building them more efficiently and designing them to use fewer materials. This could be combined with energy efficiency to produce homes which cost less to rent and less to live in. As an example a home which is designed to be space efficient and so is 25% smaller, will cost about 25% less to build and use less energy to heat. Fitting an apartment with a $20 clothes drying racks in the laundry and on the balcony will save about $100 on the cost of a dryer, as well as saving electricity.

    The Australian and NZ governments could jointly sponsor "open source" designs for low cost energy efficient housing. The plans could be made available free online and developers encouraged to use them. Local Government could pre-approve the designs to speed construction (or where councils refused to cooperate, state governments could override local planning powers to permit these buildings).

    Modular construction techniques could be used to build housing quickly and cheaply. The modules could be clad to blend in with local housing styles and suit the local climate.

    Australia 2020 Local Summits

    Alongside the Federal Government's Australia 2020 Summit, there are a series of other summits. These include the 2020 Youth Summit , 2020 Schools Summits, and local summits. At present there is no index to the local summits, but hewre are some I have come across:
    • Canberra 2020 Summit: 5 April 2008, by the ACT Government, in Canberra.
    • Open 2020 Summit: 3 April 2008, by Senator Kate Lundy, and the Australian National Unviersity, Canberra.
    • Lalor 2020 Summit : April 4, organised by Lalor MP Julia Gillard for the areas of Melton, Wyndham, Rockbank and Point Cook, Victoria.

    ps: I am helping with the Open 2020 Summit.

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Intellectual Property for Seminar

    ANU are sponsoring a seminar on Intellectual Property (What it is, how to protect it and how to use it.) by SPRUSON & FERGUSON Patent and Trade Mark Attorneys, Wednesday 26th March 2008 in Canberra. For the next five weeks, there will be a seminar each week covering a different area of commercialisation and business planning. This is part of Innovation ANU: a staged business and commercialisation development program for ANU students and staff designed to transform cutting edge research and business ideas into tomorrow’s leading businesses and commercial entities.

    Report on the ACT Innovation System

    The ACT Chief Minister, Jon Stanhope, launched a report on innovation in the ACT, on 19 March 2008. The study was done by Howard Partners, and the full 174 page report is available online ( 1.8 Mbytes of PDF). This should be useful for the Canberra 2020 Forum to be held on April 5 on the theme 'innovation'.

    The report has a readable 5 page executive summary and set of recommendations. At about 24 Kbytes per page, the report is reasonably efficiently encoded. However, it would help if the summary and recommendations were provided separately, preferably in the form of a web page which would be easier to find and read. Appended are excerpts from the recommendations, summary and table of contents of the report.

    One deficiency of the report is that it does not address new approaches to intellectual property, such as Open Source and Open Access. These provide the potential to unlock creativity, innovation and economic development currently lying unused in tertiary institutions and government agencies in Canberra.

    Recommendations From the Report

    1. An entity, tentatively termed Innovation Canberra, be formed to provide leadership and direction in the development and implementation of knowledge based innovation strategies for the ACT and surrounding region—with a particular focus on the ICT and the creative practices sectors.
    2. Innovation Canberra consist of members drawn from business, creative, education, and government sectors.
    3. Members of Innovation Canberra be required to contribute to overhead and operating costs, with the ACT Government providing seed funding for start-up costs.
    4. Innovation Canberra be tasked to develop a strategic agenda of major projects and initiatives and advocate, promote, and seek funding support from industry, higher education and government—locally, nationally and internationally.

    Creating and leveraging sector linkages

    5. In view of the potential for the creative sector to make a stronger contribution to economic development, the ACT government give consideration to making further investments to build capability. In particular, initiatives to accelerate the bridging of the technology and creative sectors should be examined.

    Stimulating and supporting innovation at the enterprise level

    6 The ACT Government establish an ‘Ideas Fund’ to nurture innovative ideas and concepts to a stage of development where they become potentially marketable products and services and are of interest to customers and/or technology investors.
    7. The Epicorp incubation and enterprise development model be extended, in partnership with universities, research organisations, and national collecting institutions, into a Canberra Innovation Development Centre directed towards product development and scale up for technology and
    arts and creative businesses.
    8. A program to support innovation strategy development in more developed and mature start-up firms be examined—for example, program support to cover the cost of advice and mentoring to assist firms develop innovation management strategies and the organisational infrastructure
    pertinent to their business models.

    Innovation, Creativity and Leadership

    9. The ACT Government be a participant in a collaboration between Government and ACT universities in an ARC Linkage project application for innovation in government procurement. As one of the smaller jurisdictions a pilot study should be undertaken for the ACT public sector.

    Branding and positioning of Canberra

    10. There is need to develop a more progressive view and brand of Canberra, particularly in the domestic market. The ACT Government, together with industry through the Canberra Business Council, higher and further education institutions, the national collecting institutions, research
    organisations, and the Australian Government develop a strategy to position Canberra as an international city of design.


    11. The ACT Government support an annual Canberra Exhibition that showcases, celebrates and markets ACT innovation capability across the science, technology, and the cultural and creative sectors ...

    From: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, Report of a Study of the ACT Innovation System, Howard Partners for the Australian Capital Territory Government, March 2008, ISBN-978-0-642-60439-2,
    ISBN-10: 0-642-60439-8
    From the Executive Summary:
    ... Cities and regions provide the frameworks for innovation by being ‘hubs of capability’ and facilitating ‘linkages’ between businesses, research and teaching organisations and government organisations. The concept of ’hubs’ and ‘linkages’ provides the basis for the analysis of ‘innovation systems’. ...

    This study complements the science system approach by documenting capability in what will be referred to as the ‘arts and creative practices system’ and drawing attention to the importance of creativity as a major source of innovation. Creativity is linked to innovation through design as well as research, teaching, and experimentation in art and creative practices. Cultural institutions, such as libraries, galleries and museums also have a role in the ‘arts and creative practices system’. ...

    In 2004-05 a total of $698m was spent on research and development in Canberra—amounting to 10.2 percent of total research and development expenditure in Australia. Almost 90 percent of expenditure in Canberra was performed in the public sector. Business expenditure on research and development Innovation, Creativity and Leadership amounted to $99m (1.0 percent of the Australian total). Sixty two percent of this was incurred in the electronic equipment and computer services (ICT) sectors. This compares with 11 per cent for Australia as a whole.

    Several research intensive and software development based businesses have grown in Canberra and become sustainable, often on a global basis, on a foundation of relationships developed with Australian Government departments and agencies and the Defence Materiel Organisation.

    However, the study indicates that contracting with the Australian Government presents particular challenges, particularly in the absence of a demonstrated ‘track record’. Unlike the United Kingdom and European countries, the Australian Government does not use its procurement system to source or stimulate innovation. This constitutes lost opportunity. ...

    The strengths of the ACT science system relate to its position as an international centre and global hub for research and teaching excellence across a number of disciplines, including natural and life sciences, information and communications sciences, economics, the policy sciences and humanities, and curatorial studies.

    Research excellence attracts top students who in turn provide the human
    resource base for businesses starting up or relocating in Canberra, for government advice, and for national institutions wishing to tap into world class expertise and capabilities.

    The arts and creative practices system reflects the location and activities of the national collecting institutions based in Canberra—including the National Library, the National Gallery of Australia, the National Museum of Australia, the National Film and Sound Archive, the Australian War Memorial and the National Archives—and teaching and research undertaken in the schools of art, music, design and architecture located at the ANU, the University of Canberra and the Canberra Institute of Technology. ...

    A private college, the Academy of Interactive Entertainment (AIE), is a leading educator for the computer game development and 3D digital industries. ScreenACT, the ACT Office of Film, Television and Digital Media, is responsible for implementing industry development initiatives. Canberra has a developing film and television production industry, with a particular strength in non-fiction and documentary film, and which displays potential to grow. ...

    In June 2006 there were 3,000 creative businesses in the ACT, representing 10.7 percent of all businesses in the Territory—this data does not include businesses located in Queanbeyan. Creative businesses have a higher propensity to be micro-businesses—with 40 percent of GST registered creative businesses being sole traders compared to 36 percent across all industries. This is reflective of a
    pattern in other capital cities—particularly London and Berlin.

    There is scope for substantial further development of the creative industries through linkages and partnerships between universities and colleges, creative content providers, the substantial computing capacity available in the ACT (through the ANU and NICTA) and optical fibre communications capability. ...

    The study outlines a number of key issues that need to be addressed in going ahead with an innovation based economic development strategy. These include creating critical mass among smaller businesses through collaborations and networking, the exercise of leadership and building business capacity and capability for expansion and growth. ...

    The study has suggested that there are a number of initiatives that can be put in place to capture and develop innovation opportunities for the ACT. There was a strong view that government, industry and universities should work in partnership to capture the ICT and creative capabilities of Canberra through investment in an MIT style media laboratory. ...

    From: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, Report of a Study of the ACT Innovation System, Howard Partners, for the Australian Capital Territory Government, March 2008, ISBN-978-0-642-60439-2,
    ISBN-10: 0-642-60439-8

    From Table of contents of the report:
    Executive Summary 1
    Recommendations 6
    1. Introduction 9
      1. Background 9
      2. Innovation and innovation systems 10
      3. The competitive environment 21
    2. Approach to the study 22
    3. The innovation policy context: vision, plans, and frameworks 23
      1. Innovation policy objectives 23
      2. The Canberra plan and strategy 24
      3. The economic framework 26
      4. Australian Government purchasing and procurement 32
      5. Issues and implications 37
    4. Innovation system capability 39
      1. Research and development capability 39
      2. Creative capability 52
      3. Business and entrepreneurial capability 62
      4. Conclusions 64
    5. Innovation system institutional framework 65
      1. Institutions for teaching and research 66
      2. Cultural institutions 67
      3. Lead businesses 68
      4. Networks 73
      5. Conferences, awards and prizes 78
      6. Technology parks and seed funds 80
      7. Investors 81
      8. Support services 83
      9. Policy and strategic framework 84
    6. Innovation system dynamics 85
      1. Framework 85
      2. System attributes 87
      3. Interactions and connections 90
      4. Issues and implications 92
    7. Canberra’s distinctive capabilities 93
      1. A City with an international outlook and connections 93
      2. An international centre for research and teaching 94
      3. Centre for culture, arts, and creative practices 94
      4. A Centre for defence procurement 95
      5. An attractive place to live and work 95
      6. Implications 96
    8. Best practice 97
      1. Berlin 97
      2. Ottawa 98
      3. Washington, DC 98
      4. London 101
      5. Wellington 102
      6. Observations and implications 103
    9. Some emerging trends 105
      1. The ‘democratisation’ of information technology 105
      2. The convergence of information technology and creative practices 106
      3. Higher education engagement 107
      4. Biotechnology 108
      5. Demand for security solutions 109
      6. Government procurement practices 110
      7. Centralisation of government administration in Canberra 112
    10. Key issues to address 113
      1. Creating critical mass 113
      2. Leadership 114
      3. Building a culture of collaboration 114
      4. Building business capability in the creative industries sector 115
      5. Support for new business development 116
      6. Resources 117
      7. Out-migration of skilled people 117
      8. Policy issues 117
      9. Innovation, Creativity and Leadership
    11. New visions for Canberra 119
      1. A centre for a technology, arts and creative practices industry 119
      2. A ‘connected city’ 120
      3. An international city of design 122
      4. An international centre for conservation management and practice 123
      5. Australia’s ‘education’ capital 123
      6. Sustainable City 124
      7. Issues and implications 126
    12. Actions and initiatives 127
      1. Establish leadership and direction 127
      2. Build a framework for new business support 130
      3. Advocate for innovation in government procurement 133
      4. Position Canberra as an international city 134

    Attachment A: Strategies and actions to establish Canberra as an international city of design and architecture 135
    • Achieve UNESCO ‘City of Design’ status 135
    • Branding through the Canberra Biennial 137
    • Establish a Graduate School of Design 138
    • Plan for a National Design Museum 138
    • Encourage Establishment of a Peak Body for Design 139
    • Overall framework 139
    Attachment B: Australian Government Contracts Gazetted for Procurement of Goods and Services in the ACT and Region 2006-07 141
    • Classified by ANZSCC Code 141
    • Classified by Agency/Department 144
    Attachment C: Profile of Research and Development Expenditure in the ACT. 147
    • Overview 147
    • Higher education 148
    • Government 153
    Attachment D: A note on financing start-up businesses 155
    Attachment E: The MIT Media Lab 159
    References 163

    Table 1: ACT Industry Percentage Contribution to Total Factor Income 27
    Table 2 ACT Employment by Industry Sector (‘000) 31
    Table 3: Australian Government—purchases of goods and services in the ACT and region exceeding $10m 33
    Table 4: Australian Government purchases of goods and services in the
    ACT region—ANZSCC code 34
    Table 5: Innovation system capability investment framework 40
    Table 6: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 ($’000) 41
    Table 7: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 (proportion) 41
    Table 8: Summary of higher education expenditure on R&D by research fields 2004 ($’000) 42
    Table 9: Summary of higher education expenditure on R&D by socio-economic objective 2004 ($’000) 43
    Table 10: Higher education research commercialisation indicators 44
    Table 11: Government expenditure on research and development 45
    Table 12: CSIRO research commercialisation indicators 46
    Table 13: Major Australian research infrastructure located in the ACT 46
    Table 14: Business expenditure on R&D, by industry - by location: 2005-06 47
    Table 15: All ACT Students by Higher Education Provider and Broad Field of Education, Full Year 2005 48
    Table 16: Students by Higher Education Provider and Broad Level of Course, Full Year 2005 49
    Table 17: Australian Government Business Support Programs 51
    Table 18: Employment in Creative Industry Segments, 2001 census 54
    Table 19: Number of creative businesses in the ACT by segment—2006 55
    Table 20: Innovation system institutional framework 65
    Table 21: Expenditure on R&D, by industry - by location: 2004-05 147
    Table 22: Higher education expenditure on R&D by source of funds 2004 ($’000) 148
    Table 23: Higher education expenditure on R&D by source of funds 2004 (proportions) 148
    Table 24: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 ($’000) 149
    Table 25: Higher education expenditure on R&D by type of activity 2004 (proportion) 149
    Table 26: Higher education expenditure on R&D by research fields 2004 ($’000) 150
    Table 27: Higher education expenditure on R&D by research fields 2004 (proportion) 151
    Table 28: Higher education expenditure on R&D by socio-economic objective 2004 ($’000) 152
    Table 29: Higher education expenditure on R&D by socio-economic objective 2004 (proportion) 153

    From: Innovation, Creativity and Leadership, Report of a Study of the ACT Innovation System, Howard Partners, for the Australian Capital Territory Government, March 2008, ISBN-978-0-642-60439-2,
    ISBN-10: 0-642-60439-8
    See also:

    Monday, March 24, 2008

    Railway wireless options

    A news report has questioned if Australian railways should adopt the European GSM-R digital radio system, or Tetra. GSM-R is an adaption of the GSM phone system for railways. Tetra (TErrestrial Trunked RAdio) is a European developed digital trunked radio system. Tetra has the advantage of being used more widely than just for railways, but is no more technically  advanced than GSM-R.

    Both SGM-R and Tetra have advantages and disadvantages. Neither is designed for high speed data transfer comparable to 4G mobile  phone networks, but this is not a requirement for a railway system. One problem is the need to install infrastructure. Unless the wireless network is shared with other suers (such as police and other emergency services), they a whole network has to be installed and paid for just for the railway. This applies to both GSM-R and Tetra, but there are more likely to be other government Tetra users to share the cost.

    An alternative would be for the railways to use public 4G wireless mobile phone and other data networks (particularly WiMax). Railways have tended to want to use their own dedicated communications network, however, if multiple public networks were used this might provide sufficient reliability. In any case the telecommunications companies are likely to be keen to provide access to their services for railway passengers and so install the needed equipment in tunnels and other locations the signals would not normally reach. There would be little extra cost in providing railway communications. These could also be used for other equipment, such as level crossing signals.

    Some railways are using WiFi for signaling, but this would generally apply only to small, dense, metro systems, due to the need for a base station every few tens of metres.

    Railways are installing new GSM-R networks, such as China's use of GSM-R for its network. Railways are using 4G networks, such as Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC) is to use Telstra's NextG 4G mobile phone network for 10,000km of rail line in regional Australia.
    THE State Government's promised rail communications system upgrade has come under attack, with claims the $80 million project is set for cost blow-outs because of outdated technology.

    The upgrade of the Metropolitan Train Safety Communications System, announced in May 2006, is designed to allow drivers to communicate directly with each other in the event of emergencies such as track intruders or accidents.

    The Government favours GSM-R technology, a variant of the GSM system used for most non-3G mobile phones. Technical experts describe this as a second-generation technology and point out that the IT world is already using third-generation (3G) technology.

    The Age understands the Government plans to use the GSM-R on the phone spectrum bought after the collapse of One.Tel in 2001. But that licence expires by 2015....

    The London Underground, Paris, Madrid, Berlin and many train networks throughout Asia have progressed to the more modern TETRA system, which is said to be more cost effective in metropolitan areas. ...

    Many suburban train drivers have told The Age they have been forced to use their own mobile phones to fill "dead spots" in the current radio system.

    From: Railway project cost blow-out fears, Mathew Murphy and Clay Lucas, The Age, March 22 2008

    Lectures on-line

    Looking for something from a previous lecture I had given I did a web search on the course code "COMP2410" and was surprised to find the audio of the lecture listed on FilesTube. I was worried they had taken an unauthorized copy of my lecture, but it turns out that is a search engine which specializes in file sharing sites. It found the file on the university web site and put in a link to it. This was one I was experimenting with providing synchronized audio and slides for.

    The original notes for "The Web on Small Screen" are  online. The idea was then to synchronize this using SMIL. Unfortunately there were not enough SMIL players to make this worth doing.

    Jackie Chan Science Centre in Canberra

    Jackie Chan and Kevin Rudd, at ANU John Curtin School of Medical Research OpeningSeems I have visited the Jackie Chan Science Center, without realizing it. The Center is in the foyer of the John Curtin School of Medical Research at ANU in Canberra. It was named for, and opened by, the Hong Kong actor Jackie Chan and the Prime Minister Kevin Rudd on 9 March 2008.

    Chan lived in Canberra with his parents for several years in Canberra.

    The Jackie Chan Science Centre will showcase the history and current research of The John Curtin School of Medical Research (JCSMR) at The Australian National University.

    It was made possible by a generous donation by international movie star Mr Jackie Chan. Mr Chan first visited JCSMR in December 2002 to make a donation to cancer research in memory of his mother and long-time Canberra resident Ms Lee Lee Chan.

    In 2006, Mr Chan made a further donation to JCSMR, which funded the new education centre in his name. This project is designed to inspire the next generation of Australian scientists by giving them an insight into the past success stories and current research at JCSMR. Initially consisting of a number of descriptive panels and windows into working laboratories, the Jackie Chan Science Centre will continue to develop as a place of discovery for budding researchers. ...

    From: "Jackie Chan Science Centre Opening", Fact Sheet, ANU, 9 March 2008

    The center is just next to the Vanilla Bean Cafe and the Finkel Lecture Theatre, where I attended an innovation seminar and one on Research Participation in the F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter Program.

    Sunday, March 23, 2008

    Ads for PDF

    Adobe are working on how to have paid ads in PDF documents, similar to Google AdSense ads on web pages. The new system is called "Ads for Adobe PDF" and is in beta. There is a video,
    View the demo above and check out the sample screenshot.
    FAQs and an application form . The system tries to allow for PDF's lower interactivity than web pages (the ads are fixed in the PDF document, but only for a limited period). The service is being provided with Yahoo! who already have a web based advertising service. There is also an Ads for Adobe PDF discussion forum. It will be interesting to see how well this service is accepted. It could be a good way for publishers to be recompensed for the cost of providing material. The current service seems more targeted at publishers might also be useful for self publishing authors.

    High Speed Hospital Ships

    In From Warrior to Lifesaver (Proceeding of the UN Naval Institute, February 2008), Commander Wayne M. Gluf, of the U.S. NavyMedical Corps, argues that Tarawa-class amphibious assault ships (LHAs) could be converted into hospital ships. Recent US hospital ships, USNS Mercy (T-AH-19) and USNS Comfort (T-AH-20) were built from commercial tankers. Commander Gluf argues that these ships are deficient as they can handle only one helicopter at a time and have limited loading from boats. In contrast the LHAs have ten helicopter landing spots and can land wounded from landing craft and air cushion vehicles via the stern door.

    However, converting LHAs would be an expensive business and use of a converted warship would tempt its use for warfare and risk attack from combatants. The existing hospital ships look very different to a warship and so would be harder for a combatants to accidentally attack (or use the excuse they mistook it for a warship). Also the lack of facilities for mass offloading of troops would make it less likely a military commander would be tempted to misuse the hospital ships for war fighting.

    An alternative might be to adopt the US Navy's Joint High Speed Vessel (JHSV) as the basis for a hospital ship. The JHSV program is adapting high speed, multi hull, commercial vehicle passenger ferries as military transports. Miltihull vessels have a large deck area and so can provide more space for helicopters that single hull ships. They also have a rear ramp for limited loading from landing craft at sea.

    The JHSV requirements (see; "US Navy launches competition for JHSV preliminary design concept development, Richard Scott, Janie's International Defence Review, March 2008) are based on Australian designs that have been used for military transport, such as USAV Spearhead (TSV-1X): High Speed US Army Transport Ship, built by the Incat, in Tasmania and modified from a ferry and similar ships from Austal. These ships are only about 112 m long with 1,869 square metres of usable space and single spot flight deck. The design could accommodate a second helicopter spot and could be expanded for a much larger vessel.

    Because of the larger deck area to displacement ratio of a catamaran, a far smaller ship than the Tarawa-class LHA could be used to provide multiple helicopter spots in a ship of far less than displacement than a LHA. The transport ships would look very different to the eye and on radar than a LHA and so less likely to be attacked accidentally. The ferries do not have floodable docks and so would be less useful for a military assault for conveying tanks and other heavy equipment, but still efficient for evacuating causalities. The large vehicle deck could be used for containerised modular medical facilities.

    The JHSV Program is a result of a merger between the separate Army
    Theater Support Vessel (TSV) and Navy High Speed Connector (HSC) Programs. The merge was accomplished to take advantage of inherent commonalities and to create a more flexible asset for the DoD, and to leverage the Navy’s core competency in ship acquisition.

    •The Joint High Speed Vessel program is a Navy led acquisition
    program. The Navy Program Office staff includes Navy, Army and Marine Corps
    personnel. PEO Ships will conduct acquisition for both services, but each
    service will fund its own ships.

    •JHSV will provide the ability to lift medium
    loads quickly without reliance on shore based infrastructure and in austere
    environments over intra theater distances.


    JHSV will reach speeds of 35-45 knots, have draft under 15 feet, and allow for the rapid transit and deployment of conventional or Special Forces as well as equipment and supplies.

    •JHSV will include a flight deck for helicopter operations and an
    off-load ramp that will allow vehicles to quickly drive off the ship. The ramp
    will be suitable for the types of austere piers and quay walls common in
    developing countries.

    •A mature technology base already exists, and there is
    little need for further technology development to achieve required capabilities
    prior to production. JHSV has very low technology risks and challenges.

    •JHSV will identify a common set of requirements and parameters for the hulls.
    Benefits envisioned are common hull forms, economies of scale, joint C4ISR
    capabilities, and reduced life cycle costs. The goal is to have a common hull
    and minimize the amount of service-unique equipment needed per ship.

    ... The JHSV Initial Capabilities Document was
    approved by the Joint Requirements Oversight Council in November 2005 and the
    Analysis of Alternatives was completed in December 2005. A request for proposals
    was released in August 2007, and the lead ship is expected to be delivered in

    From: Joint High Speed Vessel -JHSV, US Navy, 10 October 2007

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    National Folk Festival

    Greetings from the National Folk Festival in Canberra. The National Library of Australia is providing an internet cafe and WiFi alongside the union concert (with Senator Lundy comparing). Apart from the music there are displays with an ecological theme. One was from ANZSES with solar energy displays.

    One of the more unusual acts, is the House Howlers, an a cappella singing group made up of journalists from the Federal Parliamentary Press Gallery, including Karen Middleton. They sing satirical songs about politicians.

    Friday, March 21, 2008

    Firefox developer in Canberra

    Robert O'Callahan ( will be talking at ANU in Canberra, 4 August 2007 about the development of the Firefox:


    FOXHOLES: News From The Front Line Of The Browser Wars

    Robert O'Callahan (

    DATE: 2008-04-04
    TIME: 14:00:00 - 15:00:00
    LOCATION: CSIT Seminar Room, N101

    Web browsers have become a primary application platform, arguably more important than traditional client operating systems. They are also a key security frontier, a vigorously competitive market, and an crucial front in the battle for free software and open standards. For these and other reasons, browser development is both extremely challenging and extremely important.

    As a core Firefox developer, I will discuss challenges facing our project: competition from Internet Explorer and other browsers; changes to fundamental assumptions about code-level security vulnerabilities; sustaining and evolving a complex and fragile codebase; and the successes and failures of our tools and processes.

    Looking forward, I will discuss our efforts to keep the Web vital, in concert with like-minded browser vendors and standards organizations, by enhancing the Web platform with vector and 3D graphics, offline Web applications, accessibility, richer typography and layout, enhancements to the Javascript language, efforts to improve cross-browser compatibility, and more. I will talk about why everyone should care and what people can do to help.

    Robert O'Callahan obtained a PhD in programming languages and software engineering tools from CMU. After a few years at IBM Research working on dynamic program analysis, he returned to New Zealand to work on Mozilla full-time. Now he manages a team of Gecko developers in Auckland (and constantly looks for more hard-core hackers to hire) while still trying to write lots of code and do research on the side.

    Innovation in New Zealand

    The NZ Ministry of Economic Development has issued two request for tenders for an Auckland Innovation Centre. One is for the Design, Business Case and Plan, the other is for Market Testing. Perhaps Canberra can join in and prepare a joint plan for their ACT Innovation System.
    The Ministry of Economic Development (MED) is seeking project management and consultancy support to:

    • Develop the current draft value proposition for the Auckland Innovation Centre into a detailed concept, including further testing and refinement with industry and researchers in New Zealand;
    • Develop a business case for the Centre
    • Develop a business plan for the Centre
    • Secure initial cornerstone partners and investors into the Centre.


    This document is a Request for Proposal (RFP) by MED. MED seeks proposals for project management and consultancy support to:

    1) Develop the current draft AIC value proposition into a detailed design.
    2) Use the concept document as a basis for discussion and negotiation with stakeholders, in order to secure initial cornerstone partners, tenants and investors.
    3) Develop a full business case for the Centre.
    4) Develop a full business plan for the Centre.

    Auckland Innovation Centre – Detailed Design, Business Case and Plan, Request for Proposal , NZ Ministry of Economic Development
    The Ministry of Economic Development (MED) is seeking consultancy support to test the draft Auckland Innovation Centre value proposition, in order to:

    • Understand the state of advanced materials capability in other markets and whether the Auckland innovation centre proposition represents a differentiated and competitive proposition;
    • Understand where potential competition lies and what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the current proposition relative to competitive offerings;
    • What are the best market, industry and research opportunities to pursue, including possible international partners and alliances;
    • What capabilities, technologies and services need to be offered to ensure success;
    • What actions need to be taken in implementing the proposition to take up the best opportunities.


    This document is a Request for Proposal (RFP) by MED. MED seeks proposals for consultancy support to test the draft Auckland Innovation Centre value proposition. This will include analysing and articulating:

    • The state of advanced materials capability in other markets and whether the Auckland innovation centre proposition represents a differentiated and competitive proposition;
    • Where potential competition lies and what are the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the current proposition relative to competitive offerings;
    • What are the best market, industry and research opportunities to pursue, including possible partners and alliances;
    • What capabilities, technologies and services need to be offered to ensure success;
    • What actions need to be taken in implementing the proposition to take up the best opportunities.

    The Ministry envisages that this will entail a combination of desk research, consultation workshops/fora with domestic experts and industry, and testing with panels of experts overseas in key markets (particularly the US and/or Europe).

    Auckland Innovation Centre – Market Testing, NZ Ministry of Economic Development

    Testing Heat Pump Water Heaters

    The New Zealand Government has issued a request for tender for a test strategy for Heat Pump Water Heaters. There is a common Australia/NZ standard for these (AS/NZS 4234), but this has two climate zones unique to NZ, which the heaters need to be tested for. Heat pumps are very efficient for heating water, but have problems operating at low temperatures.
    To develop a laboratory testing method that determines the key air-source HPWH performance characteristics of the common system Configurationsand to develop in parallel,TRNSYS models for the common HPWH configurations so they can accept the outputs of the HPWH performance testing methods.

    The models are required to model the HPWH seasonal performance for the two NZ climate zones defined in AS/NZS 4234.

    From: To develop an Air-Source Heat Pump Water Heater performance test and TRNSYS annual performance Model, ICNNZ Reference: 21289

    Australian interactive cricket web site

    The National Museum of Australia have issued a request for tender for someone to build them an interactive display about Australian cricket. This is likely to create a lot of interest from cricket mad web developers in India. ;-)

    The tender calls for Flash. Developers need to keep in mind that Australian law requires that such services be accessible to the disabled, which requires a little extra work when using Flash.

    The National Museum of Australia seeks the services of an appropriately qualified organisation to develop the Australian Cricket Flash-based interactive for the new Australian Journeys gallery at the National Museum of Australia. The required services will comprise of:

    1. Creative concept development
    2. Functional and technical specification
    3. Interface design
    4. Post production of archival film
    5. Programming and development of the interactive in Adobe Flash ...
    From: Australian cricket interactive, ATM ID NMAT0708/14, 20-Mar-2008
    They also have a tender for "European Voyages interactive".

    Rethinking business process management

    CSIRO's ICT Center is having a talk by Professor Benatallah on From Business Processes to Service-based Process Spaces, 25 March at ANU in Canberra. IP Australia issued a request for tender for Services Oriented Architecture components on 20 March. It would be interesting to apply Professor Benatallah's techniques to that project.


    From Business Processes to Service-based Process Spaces
    Professor Boualem Benatallah (CSE, UNSW)
    DATE: 2008-03-25
    TIME: 14:00:00 - 15:00:00 ...

    Over the last decade, capabilities arising from advances in online technologies, especially Service Oriented Architectures (SOA), enabled enterprises to increase productivity, simplify automation, and extend business to locations far beyond their normal operations. Enterprises also embraced emergent process-aware services that enabled automation to gain more visibility in process executions.

    The focus of process improvement has expanded to include monitoring, analysis and understanding of business processes. Now, at all levels, business process monitoring and management is firmly recognised as a strategic priority for modern enterprises. However, while business process management and monitoring have enabled enterprises to increase efficiency, new usability challenges have also emerged. These challenges are increasing the pressure for enterprises to look at business processes from an end user's perspective.

    In this talk, we propose Process Views as new abstractions focusing on re-conceptualising the form and function of existing business process management systems to create a new generation of service and process-centric systems to better support the management of personal, ad-hoc, and as well as structured business processes over multiple applications and data sources.

    We further define and propose Process Spaces as a new research agenda for the business process research community. The term Process Space refers to the superimposition of Process Views over heterogeneous IT systems for the purposes of simplifying access to multiple applications and data sources and to provide the means to manage process views in a unified and flexible manner.

    From: From Business Processes to Service-based Process Spaces, CSIRO, 2008

    Consortium of Indian Universities in Adelaide

    A consortium of Indian universities is to establish a campus in Adelaide. Students will spend a year at the new institution in Adelaide and then move to a South Australian University:
    The Icfai University has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state of South Australia to set up its campus at Adelaide.

    Initially, the university is planning to launch postgraduate management programmes in a leased space in Adelaide this year before setting up a full-fledged campus with other courses over a period.

    The MoU was signed by the visiting South Australia premier Mike Rann and Icfai University chairman Subhash Sarnikar here on Saturday. ...

    .... The students would spend a year in the Icfai campus in Adelaide and the second year at an existing university.

    In the process, they get degrees or diplomas from both the universities ...

    From: Icfai to set up campus in South Australia, BS Reporter, Business Standard Ltd, Hyderabad, March 17, 2008
    According to its web site, ICFAI University is made up of separate universities sponsored by the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India. These are located in Uttarakhand, Tripura, Sikkim, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Jharkhand and each is a separate university under Indian law. This could make the administration of students in Adelaide quite complex.

    ICFAI University offer Flexible Learning Programs, up to the Masters level, inlcuding in new areas, such as Cyber Law. Flexible Learning could offer an interesting challenge to Australian universities with traditional modes of teaching and traditional course content.

    The web sites for the Nagaland and Jharkhand universities do not appear to have been established yet.

    According to the Wikipedia there is a legal dispute in India and USA involving ICFAI over the use the term Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA).

    Green Car Proposal for Australia

    Accoding to a news report the Universal Design Company (UniCo) is proposing to refit the disused Mitsubishi's Tonsley Park car plant in Adelaide to assemble alternative fuel "green" vehicles. The cars would initially have V6 engines capable of running on biofuel and LPG, with hybrid electric engines later.

    The plan envisages the first cars made by 2009, so presumably these will be assembled from imported components, using an existing design. It take several years to design a car and more to make the parts.

    The plan is said to be support ed by the Australian Manufacturing Workers Union. But it is difficult to see how a plant making a small number of cars (30,000 per year) could be cost effectively assembled in Australia, unless some radical new technology is used. Dual fuel LPG/biofuel engines do not appear breakthrough technology.

    ... Under the plan, car parts and "trans-hybrid" engines would be shipped to Adelaide and assembled at Tonsley Park to produce specialised people movers and easy-access vehicles seating up to seven people. The V6 engines would initially be dual-fuelled, running on biofuel and LPG, with plans to introduce electric hybrid engines in the future. ...

    Southern Suburbs Minister John Hill, who is in charge of redeveloping the site, said there was a high level of interest and "lots of exciting propositions".

    "I would welcome the interest from this company," he said.

    Expressions of interest for the site, being collected by Mitsubishi, close today. ...

    From: Secret bid to build 'green' cars at Mitsubishi plant, LAUREN NOVAK, The Advertiser, Adelaide, March 21, 2008 12:10am

    According to the news report, Universal Design Company (UniCo), was formed by Chris Burrell, who previously started UniCab Australia. An ASIC search shows that "UNIVERSAL DESIGN CO. (UNICO)" is a business name registered with the Office of Fair Trading, New South Wales (no: NSW BN98311428). There does not appear to be a web site for UniCo. The web site for UniCab <> is now "parked" by Primus Telecommunications PTY LTD.

    Premier of South Australia is in India, discussing business opportunities. These mostly seem to be about mines and some about defence industry. These seem more likely ways to redeploy the workforce from the closing Mitsubishi car plant.

    INDIAN INDUSTRIES searching for new avenues in mining and exploration can now look forward to setting base in South Australia. The South Australian premier, Mike Rann has asked Indian businessmen to enter into joint ventures and partnerships with companies in his province in mining and exploration. He said that huge opportunities existed for mining copper, uranium, gold, zinc and zircon in South Australia. He was speaking at an interactive meeting organised by the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FICCI) in New Delhi.
    Speaking at the meeting, Rann also invited the Indian entrepreneurs to have tie-ups in the defence sector, which includes shipbuilding, submarine support, systems integration, electronic warfare, surveillance, research and development. ...

    From: South Australia invites India for mining, defence ties, Mineguruji, MeriNews, 14 March 2008
    Also a consortium of Indian universities is to establish a campus in Adelaide. It is unlikely that many ex-car plant workers will be employed there, but this might be a better prospect for the South Australian economy, than a car plant:
    The Icfai University has entered a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the state of South Australia to set up its campus at Adelaide.

    Initially, the university is planning to launch postgraduate management programmes in a leased space in Adelaide this year before setting up a full-fledged campus with other courses over a period.

    The MoU was signed by the visiting South Australia premier Mike Rann and Icfai University chairman Subhash Sarnikar here on Saturday. ...

    .... The students would spend a year in the Icfai campus in Adelaide and the second year at an existing university.

    In the process, they get degrees or diplomas from both the universities ...

    From: Icfai to set up campus in South Australia, BS Reporter, Business Standard Ltd, Hyderabad, March 17, 2008