Monday, June 30, 2008

Canberra Open Coffee

Canberra Open Coffee is an informal meeting for designers, bloggers, developers, investors and anyone interested in start-ups to get to know each other over coffee. First Saturday on the Month. Venue: Essen, Garema Place, Civic Saturday 5 July from 3pm Contact: Rohan Mitchell ... Email: rohan(a)

Computers Off Launch

Computers Off CampaignGreetings from the launch of the Computers Off Campaign in Sydney today at 10am.

Mark Winter started off by showing a humorous video about "Naked Tuesday" showing that turning computers off may be an easier approach than others to energy saving. He then introduced the advisors to the campaign, including myself. He then talked about his inspiration for the campaign, when he stayed in North Sydney during the Earth Hour initiative to turn off Sydney lights and being in the USA during Al Gore's "Unfortunate Truth".

Mark claimed this is the first Green IT labelling initiative (at least until someone pointed out an earlier one). To participate, organisations are required to meet program guidelines and code of practice. Companies are required to have virtulaisationor other power management software. Organisations will be listed on the Computers Off web site and selected at random to be audited, to ensure they are complying.

Idris Sulaiman, the CEO of Computers Off, the talked about the relevance of the campaign to the ICT sector in Australia, including the coming reporting requirements by government (starting tomorrow). He mentioned the will be a global launch on world environment day. One point he made that previously ice was predicted to melt at the North Pole in 2080, but now the prediction is 2018. A recent ITU report launched in London recently estimated ICT at 2.5 to 3% of the total CO2 emissions (only for computer use not counting embedded energy from making the computers). He suggested that the ICT government review could consider energy efficient measures. He pointed out that beyond simply setting screen savers, power management software can implement and monitor more sophisticated power manage functions.

Richard Collins, consultant to the federal government's energy efficiency team, pointed out that Australian governments regulate energy sue, but not computers. He showed projects that if action is not taken, computers will be come an increasingly significant proportion of home energy use. He told an anecdote of visiting a company to talk on energy use and found that the computer staff had locked out the energy saving settings on all the company's computers. MEPS in October 2009.

A media release was distributed at the launch (copy appended) and the slide presentaiton (text only appended):

For immediate release


** Pictures available on request **

Computers Off Australia’ Campaign & Labelling initiative launched to encourage Australians to save the environment… one computer at a time!

SYDNEY – Monday 30 June, 2008 – Australians can now make a real, tangible and ‘easy’ difference to our environment – on a national and global scale – by turning off their computers when not in use. The not-for-profit ‘Computers Off Australia’ campaign and labelling initiative, officially launched today in Sydney, Australia, has been developed to encourage Australians to implement power management practices on their computers – at home and in the workplace - and in doing so, save carbon emissions and our planet!

According to Mark Winter, Founder of Computers Off Australia, “I realised about seven months ago when I told my two youngest children that we were going to wash the car and they got into the car, ready to drive to the carwash rather than grab a bucket and sponge as I would have done when I was a kid, that the world is a very different place today.”

“Moreover, it really hit home to me that if we don’t start making a difference now, in every seemingly ‘little’ way we can, our children are going to have an even bigger problem with the environment than we have today.”

“ Soon after, I read in a Gartner report that the ICT industry accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions of the aviation industry. I knew then where I could start… and the idea for Computers Off Australia was born,” he added.

The objectives of the ‘Computers Off’ campaign are to form part of a new development of practical programs being offered by the Information and Communication Technology industry to improve energy efficiency and deal with global climate change. This initiative also supports an industry-wide target to achieve a 50 per cent improvement in Australia’s and global computer energy efficiency by 2010.

The Computers off ‘label’ has been created to act as the computer industry’s guide to help individuals, business and government quickly and easily identify those organisations that are doing their part to reduce their power consumption and are in turn reducing their CO 2 emissions.

Industry associations including the (AIIA) Australia Information Industry Association and the (ACS) Australian Computers have provided their endorsements and support behind this campaign and labelling initiative.

“ The opportunity for us here in Australia is to lead by example and show the rest of the world that we can achieve something that we probably didn't think possible. By coming together and turning our computers off when they are not being used, not only can we can make a real difference, we can leave our children’s children with a habitable planet. Then, our plan is to take this initiative to the rest of the globe,” Mr Winter concluded.

Check out the Computers Off commercials –

Come on Australia, start turning your computers off when not in use
and implement new ways to save energy and the environment!


For media information or a media interview with Mark Winter, Founder of ‘Computers Off Australia’, please contact:

Kerryn Nelson
Managing Director
Big Mouth Marketing Communications P/L
Ph: + 61 3 9558 3122 E: kerryn.nelson(a)

Did you know?

People don’t generally leave their televisions on all day while they are at work or away on holidays,
yet across Australia, millions of work computers are on all night – wasting energy, costing businesses, places of learning and the government over one billion dollars in electric generation costs and contributing to global climate change.

According to a Gartner Report, the global Information and Communications Technology industry (ICT) accounts for approximately 2% of global carbon dioxide emissions, which is equivalent to the emissions of the aviation industry.

According to a recent report by the Department of Environment and Water Heritage , there are now more than 16 million PCs within government departments, institutions and businesses and approximately 8 million PC in Australian homes.

If Australian home users, businesses and the government start to turn of their computers when they are not in use and implement automated power management, they will collectively save in excess of $1.3 billion ($1,332,407,232) per annum and we will reduce our carbon emissions by 7,938,926 tonnes per annum!

This is equivalent to taking 1,373,517 cars off the road, planting 2,165,260 trees and 8,882,715 homes that would be lit for a year with the energy saved by power management (at 12c electricity cost per kWh).

How BIG an impact can you make by turning off your computer?

By turning off your computer each night when you leave work for a year you will help save as much energy as it takes:

  • to run a clock radio for 1,392 weeks

  • to make 9,280 bags of microwave popcorn

  • to wash 464 loads of washing

  • to use your blow dryer for 5,568 hours

  • to vacuum for 464 hours

  • to produce 3,480 plastic bags

  • to run your microwave 24 hours a day for a week

  • to boil your kettle for 24 hours a day for 268 days

By turning off your computer tonight when you leave work you will save as much energy as it takes:

  • to run a clock radio for over 3 weeks

  • to make over 20 bags of microwave popcorn

  • to wash over 1 load of washing

  • to blow dry your hair over 12 times

  • to vacuum for over 1 hour

  • to light a 100 watt light bulb for over 10 hours

By turning your computer off tonight when you leave work will save approximately 100kgs of coal from being used - that’s a saving of over about 120kgs of CO 2 emissions.

What is the ‘Computers Off Australia’ Campaign and Labelling Initiative?

The objectives of the ‘Computers Off’ campaign and labelling initiative are a part of a new development of practical programs being offered by the Information and Communication Technology industry to improve energy efficiency and deal with global climate change.

The Computers Off campaign is a simple, yet important initiative which is designed to educate business, government and home users about how we can all help reduce Australia’s carbon footprint by implementing power management practices on our work and home computers.

The Computers off ‘label’ has been created as the computer industry’s guide to help business, government and individuals quickly and easily identify organisations that are doing their part to reduce their power consumption and in turn reducing their CO 2 emissions.

To find out more about how you can get involved, visit

Computers Off Australia Launch Presentation

  • Mark Winter - Founder


  • 10.10am Screening - (Naked Tuesday Viral Commercial)

  • 10.15am Dr Idris F. Sulaiman, CEO - Computers Off Australia

  • 10.25am Richard Collins, Consultant to the Australian Government's Equipment Energy Efficiency Team

  • 10.45am Ian Birks, President - AIIA (Industry Association)

  • 10.55am Screening - (Recycled Stationary Viral Commercial)

  • 11am Otto Reuttinger, Business Manager - Lenovo

  • 11.10am Dean Downes, IT Director - St Aidens Anglican Girls"â"¢ School

  • 11.20am Screening - (WaterBoy Viral Commercial)

  • 11.25am Questions

  • 11.40am Mark Winter - Closing remarks

Introduction - Where it came from

  • Original idea of Computers Off Australia:

    • Launch of "Lights Off Australia" (Now Earth Hour)
    • Al Gores, Inconvenient Truth
    • Gartner report indicating IT accounts for 2% of global emissions
  • The need for someone to take some action and do something
  • Found like minded people

Board of Advisors

  • Tom Worthington

  • Robin Eckermann

  • Hugh Grant

  • Bianca Wirth

  • Paul Harapin

  • Dr Idris F. Sulaiman - CEO

Computers Off "Campaign"

  • Simple and important initiative

  • Educate home, business and government on how to reduce CO2 emissions

    • Power Management

    • Server and workstation Virtualisation

    • How to start on the carbon neutral path

  • Essentially a national marketing campaign

      • Education specific focus

Computers Off "Labelling"

  • Computer industry's guide to identify organisations TAKING ACTION!

  • Not products, just companies

    • What are they doing internally with this ICT infrastructure

    • Power Management

    • Server and desktop virtualisation

  • Challenges organisations (NO GREEN WASHING)

  • Gives the consumers choices

  • Meet the "Computers Off" labelling requirements

  • Randomly carry out an independent audit

  • Global launch date - World Environment Day 2009

The Labels

An organisation or individual that have implemented/activated Power Management on their home and/or work PC.

An organisation or government department that have virtualised their server or desktop infrastructure.

An organisation or individual that have reduced their ICT carbon footprint and have purchased carbon offsets to become carbon neutral.

The "Computers Off" label

  • The worlds first Green IT labelling initiative

  • The computer industries guide to identify organisation doing their part to reduce their carbon footprint

  • Encourage organisation to improve the use of power throughout their ICT infrastructure

  • Keep the bastards honest "Green Washing"

  • Global launch date - World Environment Day 2009

How does it work?

  • Organisation must meet the labelling requirements, follow the program guidelines and code of practice

    • Have a power management and /or virtualisation policy in development or in place

    • Provide a statement stating your IT carbon reduction strategy

    • This is to be provided on company letterhead

  • We will randomly select a number of licensees and carry out an independent audit

The home user

The education user

The corporate user

Computers Off Australia
First step in a greater role for ICT in addressing Climate Change

  • Idris F Sulaiman - CEO


  • About COA

  • Aims

  • Vision

  • Focus

  • Closing comments

  • "Previously scientists had a totally ice-free Arctic Ocean by 2080, but later revised the date to 2030. More recently, computer models have suggested an ice-free summer may occur by 2018"

  • It seems unthinkable, but for the first time in human history ice is on course to disappear entirely from the North Pole this year"¦" The Canberra Times, Saturday, June 28, 2008 from The Independent, p. 3

About Computers Off Australia (COA)

  • Not-for-profit organisation and campaign

  • National initiative targeting business, government, education sectors & individual consumers

  • Assist in practical steps in reducing their energy use & their CO2 footprint - both for individuals and organisations

  • Promote organisations adopt network power management tools and implementing their IT emissions reduction policy

  • Offering the worlds first Green IT labelling initiative for both individual members of organisations.

  • Campaign support
    - Individuals on Board, Industry, Government & Consumer bodies


  • Focus in three areas:

  • Reducing energy consumption of
    computers and other ICT equipment

    • encouraging behavior change in stakeholders:

    • A) business

    • B) government

      • C) education sector

      • D) individual consumers

  • Promoting network efficiencies to be gained through the use of power management and CO2 emission monitoring software in all IT-using sectors

  • Promoting collaboration by stakeholders to recognise the best ways to make
    power management and ICTs play a critical role in addressing global warming


  • Lower ICT total CO2 emissions (now approximately 2.5-3% of global CO2 emissions)

    • According to ITU London Symposium (17-18 June 2008) includes

    • includes all "in-use" commercial and government ICT and communications but

    • does not including "indirect heat" (generated during in-use) and

      • does not "embedded energy" using in ICT equipment

    • Equivalent to the aviation industry

  • The Good News:

    • There are substantial inefficiencies in the technology and use behaviors that can be readily addressed

    • Centralised Power Management and virtualisation can cut computers & monitors CO2 emissions in 2009-14 by 9.18 Mt CO2 or at least 2.3 million cars of the road (given a conservative take up)

Which equipment uses more power?


  • To raise awareness, promote implementation measures reduce energy consumption of computers and ICT-equipment

  • To scope measures that target existing large ICT initiatives to deal with their on energy efficiency and environmental performance

  • To provide a firm, quantitative basis for immediate, medium and longer term specific greenhouse response measures


  • Energy cost rise (rising price of crude reaching record levels - >$140/barrel)

  • Reporting regulations (Corporations emitting more than 125 Kt of CO2 must report. Fine of up to $200,000, audit by regulators.)

  • Government "leading by example" using its enormous purchasing power to drive markets for cleaner and greener goods and services helping to bring down prices for all Australians"(see )

    • Government Leadership in Sustainability Inter-Departmental Committee
      (10 departments) with the aims to reduce energy and water use, set targets on renewable energy use and use government procurement

    • Government ICT efficiency review (DoFD): setting "ICT Best Practice" standards

    • Post-Kyoto Agenda: Input to Garnaut Review (greater ICT role in supplementary measures to the Emission Trading Scheme, ETS), "green" and "white" papers


  • "Digital Education Revolution" education program - $1.2 billion plan to put over a million computers in schools

  • National energy efficiency goal that "will put Australia on track to being at the forefront of organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) energy efficiency improvement"

Closing words

  • COA is working to raise awareness and get stakeholders to implement measures dealing with their total energy consumption attributable to the ICT

  • Improve energy efficiency of "in-use" ICT hardware as the first steps

  • Deploying power management and virtualising server and workstation infrastructure leads to significant reduction of standby and idle power losses

  • ICT equipment monitoring of CO2 footprint will bring better energy performance - supplement minimum standards for ICT equipment

  • Manufacturers/distributors/users to measure and develop strategy to improve energy efficiency in ICT producing sectors:

  • Australia needs and can perform better than OECD"â"¢s average in many areas of equipment energy efficiency: ICTs can play a critical role

  • Cost of inaction is greater than cost of action, act now!

Thank You

Idris F Sulaiman
CEO, Computers Off Australia

For more information, please visit:

Screening - (Recycled Stationary Viral Commercial)
Screening - (Waterboy Viral Commercial)

ps: Robin Eckerman wants the Government solar rebate restored. ;-(

Friday, June 27, 2008

Palaios Panteleimonas Pierias Greece

Palaios Panteleimon (Παλαιός Παντελεήμονας) ,"Old" Panteleimon" is a village in Central Macedonia, Northern Greece, near Mouth Olympus. The village is now a popular tourist spot, with guesthouses such as Nefelh (English Translation).

I attended a wedding at the Greek orthodox church and then dined with the wedding party and what appeared to be most of the village, and the guests left over from a previous wedding, at a tavern in the square next to the village. The party went on until about 2am, with much Ouzo and even a rendition of the theme from Zorba the Greek, to keep the overseas guests happy.

The nearby New village, was the scene of the film O Megalexandros by Theo Angelopoulos.

Sultan Hostel Istanbul

The Sultan Hostel, Istanbul, is a classic hostel, from the rooftop garden overlooking the Sea of Marmaris (and the Blue Mosque), to the dubious plumbing. The best part of the hotel were the very helpful staff, with useful tips, such bas taking the metro to the airport, not the slow tourist bus.

The street cafe is a great place to meet other travelers (you will not meet a local unless they are trying to sell you a carpet or a trip to Anzac Cove). The rooftop cafe is blissful in the twilight. The free cybercafe is hectic. The rooms are cramped, but usable. The bathrooms are improved after a recentl renovation, but not without problems: some helpful person had straightened out the flexible drain under the handbasin, which removed the trap and allowed smells to come up the pipe.

According to the Lonely Planet guide, some rooms have excellent views of the sea. I didn;t see one of those. One room had a view of a brick wall, while another had a much more pleasant view of the internal courtyard behind the busy street. More of an issue than the view is the noise from the rooftop cafe and adjacent ones at night. The top floor rooms are just under the cafe and very noisy. The best solution to this is, of course, to join the party. ;-)

Tria Hotel Istanbul

The Sultan Hostel was full, so the manager put us up around the corner at the Tria Hotel for our return visit to Istanbul. As the Lonely Planet guide says, this is a new, well appointed hotel, with objets d'art. The staff are very good, the new lift works, it is very clean and most importantly smoking is banned.

But the hotel is not without problems. The room was around the back, on the top floor, just under the rooftop cafe of the Sultan Hostel opposite. On the night Turkey was playing soccer, it was very noisy. Also the on-suite toilet was blocked and the elelctronic switch kept turning the lights off every few seconds (wiggle the switch and it worked for half an hour and then turn the lights off).

You might as well have a room for about half the price at the Sultan, with lower quality fittings, but which work (mostly) and share in the fun on the street front and roof top cafes.

Hotel Lozanni Athens

I promised the very helpful manager at Hotel Lozanni, Athens that I would recommend his establishment to Hosteling International. It would be a very good hotel, if a few changes were made:
  1. Ban smoking: The staff smoke in the lobby and the guests smoke at the free cyber cafe on the first floor. This makes the public areas unbearable for people sensitive to smoke. This comment of course, applies to most hotels in Greece.
  2. Install some power points: Strangely, while the rooms have air conditioning and TVs, they don't have power points (apart from one up high for the TV). As a result the guests have to recharge their mobile phones in the hallway at the only power point.
The Hotel is also in a "colorful" part of Athens, but as long as you don;t go out alone at night, it is okay.

ps: Thanks to the hotel staff for taking me across the road to the hardware store, so they could cut the jammed lock off my suitcase.

Hotel Rex Thessaloníki

The Hotel Rex, Thessaloníki, Greece might be a good place to stay after the current renovations are finished. But as of a week ago it was like staying in a building site. A new lift is being installed, but in the interim you have to walk up four flights of stairs to your room. New soundproof double glazed windows are being installed, but while that is happening you have to step over builders tools, and listen to hammer drills.

Rooms have air conditioning, but I found the filter in mine was blocked with several millimeters of dust and carpet fluff. There seemed to be more pile in the filter than on the grimy unclean carpet on the floor. I would guess the management have decided not to clean the carpets until the building work is finished, even if the cleaner could be made to carry their equipment up the stairs.

The hotel did have some good points: most notably, very helpful staff. It is very close to the railway station (perhaps a bit too close). It had a very good free cyber cafe, apart from the air conditioner set to 29 degrees and the flat batteries in the cordless keyboard and mouse. Who in their right mind installs a cordless keyboard and mouse in a cyber cafe?

The hotel will be even better placed when Thessaloníki finishes the Thessaloníki Metro, running past the door. But that could be decades away.

Ancient forum of Thessaloníki

Ancient Agora (place of assembly) of Thessaloniki. A modern glass floor has been installed to show excavations under the amphitheatre.The Roman Forum is an archaeological site in the center of the modern Greek city of Thessaloniki. The site is free to visit, with useful signs in English and staff to ask questions of (and almost deserted when I visited). There is a Stoa (covered walkway) which was the site of ancient trade (the modern covered marketplace is a few streets down the hill and operated much the same way as this one did 2,000 years ago).

The roan forum itself is at one end of the Stoa and has been restored for performances. The remains of the original floor have been preserved in glass under the modern stage. Unfortunately several of the glass panels have shattered, hopefully a fate not shared by the New Acropolis Museum of Athens, which has an extensive glass floor.


The Delphi site and museum is worth a visit in Greece. The modern town of Delphi is a few hundred metres up the road from the ancient site. After the noise, heat, dust and crowds of Athens, the town was quiet, cool and clean.

The Delphi Archaeological Museum was refurbished in 1999 and looks much less cluttered than many in Greece, with a few important pieces given the space they deserve. The museum is a little too prominent, intruding on the ancient ruins behind.

The most evocative part of the site for me was the gymnasium with the floor of the stoa (covered walkways) and track still recognisable.

In a sense Delphi has not changed its role in several thousand years, having started and remaining a tourist attraction, due to the location and fame. The sacred way is lined with the remains of treasuries where the pilgrim's offerings were stockpiled. About the only difference is that the offerings are now taken in the form of Euros and credit card payments.

Recommended: Sibylla Hotel, Delphi.

Sony Cycle Energy Rechargeable Batteries

Sony Cycle EnergyNi-MH Rechargeable BatteriesSony are now offering "Cycle Energy" pre-charged, low discharge NiMH Rechargeable Batteries. According to the Wikipedia, these are made by Sanyo. Presumably they are identical to the Sanyo eneloop, but cost a few dollars more.

ICT Education in Malaysia

While I did not set out to do a formal study of ICT education on my trip to Malaysia, Greece and Turkey, I noticed a few things on the way.


My visit to coincided with the 24th Malaysian Education Fair 2008. The Straights Times newspaper included a sixteen page supplement for the fair. ICT and computer science featured, after business, medicine and engineering, in prominence. Australian universities compete for students in Malaysia, with universities from the UK and the USA. The Australian institution featuring prominently is Curtin Unviersity (Engineering), which has a Sarawak Campus. RMIT University
has courses in association with Metropolitan College, for business with some ICT components (also with Curtin).

The Malaysian market is very competitive for students, and Malaysian institutions may have associations with multiple overseas universities. As an example
Sunway University College, offer a Victoria University programm, but also have a Memorandum of Agreement with Lancaster University, England, and students can also complete their course at Western Michigan University, USA.

Some Malysian institutions claim exclusive arrangements with Australian institutions, such as HELP University College and The University of Queensland for ICT.

Some of the claims made by Malysian instituions for collobroation can be somewhat tenuous. As an exmaple, the the Institute Of Leadership & Quality Management announced it "...has taken the first step to visit one of the best universities in Australia, The Australian National University ...", with one of their staff mentioning "cooperate and joint-venture". In fact this seems to be just a decision by someone at ILQAM to visit the ANU, with no endorsement or agreement from ANU.

Dashbaord Mounted Engine Monitor

Auterra DashDynoThe Auterra DashDyno seems to be taking On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) for car engines to a new level. Rather than a hand held device you get out when you want to service the car, this unit is designed to be fitted to the dashboard. This way the car can be monitored all the time (and you have an impressive extra gadget for the dashboard). As well as interfacing to the car's diagnostic code interface, the unit will take position information from an external GPS device and include that in the log, along with engine parameters. Linear Logic make a cheaper dash mounted unit, but without GPS.

The unit is small enough to fit in a standard car radio DIN slot, but they do not seem to have a mounting kit for this. This is a shame as it would fit well under the Car PC.

Size 5.2" W x 2.4" H x 1.4" D
Processor 32-bit, software upgradeable
Screen High contrast monochrome, white LED backlight
Keys Backlit silicon rubber
Expansion Slot Support for MultiMediaCard, SD and SDIO cards
File Formats FAT12, FAT16, FAT32
Card Size 1GB max
Power OBD II cable or AC adapter
Sleep Mode Auto power-off
Keypad Backlit, secondary function keys
Aux Port 1 Mini-DIN, four analog inputs, 5V output
Aux Port 2 Mini-DIN, one digital input, one digital output, serial port, 5V output
Aux 5V Output Current limited 25mA max (combined both ports)
Analog Inputs Selectable ranges of 0-6V, 0-12V or 0-24V, 10-bit ADC
Analog Input Impedance 95k ohm 6V range, 62k ohm 12V range, 54k ohm 24V range
Oscilloscope Mode 200Hz bandwidth, 1mS sample rate
Digital Input 24V max, 4V high min, 1.6V low min
Digital Output Open Collector, 15V max, 75ma sink max
External GPS Baud 9600, 19200, 38400
External GPS Protocol NMEA 0183
USB Port Mini USB type B
OBD II Port Modular
OBD II Cable 6ft, low-profile OBD II connector
Alarm Lights Three high intensity LEDs
Mounting Two brass 8-32 rear mounting screw holes
Windshield Mount Suction cup with quick release
OBD II Protocols J1850 (VPW, PWM), ISO 9141, ISO 14320 (KWP), and ISO 15765 (CAN bus) protocols
Ambient Temperature Operation 14ΊF to 131ΊF (-10ΊC to 55ΊC)
Ambient Temperature Storage - Short Term -4ΊF to 140ΊF (-20ΊC to 60ΊC)
Ambient Temperature Storage - Long Term 32ΊF to 86ΊF (0ΊC to 30ΊC)

From: DashDino Specifications,

Apple Store Sydney

Apple's new store in Sydney opened 19 June 2008. I visited yesterday and found it still crowded with people. The store has the same glass curtain wall, transparent minimal design as other Apple stores. It makes an interesting contrast with the Telstra T.Life store opposite. Telstra have tried very hard to be cool, but can't quite achieve it, whereas Apple seem to do it effortlessly.

The architectural highlight of the Apple store is a glass staircase. The treads appear transparent when looked at side on, creating anxiety as to how substantial they are. However, they are made of multiple sheets of laminated glass and when you look down at the step you are standing on you see that the top surface is frosted and has a miniature checker plate non slip pattern on it. The result is something which looks insubstantial from a distance but solid close up.

The store has minimal blond wood furniture and a white back lit wall. It looks best from across the road at night and appears to be a large glass display case. The ground floor has desktop and note book computers, with iPods on the first floor and training and support above. Like the Telstra store, it is so minimal that it is difficult to discover there are other floors or what might be on them and so I needed to ask one of the numerous and very helpful staff.

One dangerous flaw with the store is that the presence of glass indicators on the curtain wall are inadequate. These have been done in frosting and, particularly from the side, are not easy to see. As a result I almost walked into the glass wall of the building. I pointed this out to one of the staff , suggesting they needed to add more and easy to see markers (they said they would tell the management). Apple need to fix this quickly; apart from the danger to pedestrians, a service or emergency vehicle maneuvering on the footpath could well drive into the building, not seeing the glass. Australian Standard AS 1288-2006 Glass in buildings - Selection and installation, section 5.19: MAKING GLASS VISIBLE (MANIFESTATION) requires a glass panel to be marked to make it visible with an opaque band which is readily apparent. The Apple store does not meet this standard.

Also the front steps are in gray stone, which is hard to see and could be improved with some warning Tactile Ground Surface Indicators. The architect might think these additions would detract from the minimal design, but it would be better than death or injury to the customers or staff.

The Bridge: A Journey Between Orient and Occident

Cover of The Bridge: A Journey Between Orient and Occident by Geert MakGeert Mak has written the book "The Bridge: A Journey Between Orient and Occident" about the Galata Bridge in Instanbul. I crossed the bridge a few weeks ago. It is not a great bridge, in terms of engineering or architecture. What Mak concentrates on is the culture of the parts of the city connected. One aspect of the bridge is that it is lined with food stores underneath and people catching fish on top. The new Istanbul tram crosses the bridge and ferries to Asia cross underneath.

The book was featured on the ABC Radio:

A bridge between orient and occident - Geert Mak

Dutch writer, journalist and historian Geert Mak has written several books exploring particular places, including Amsterdam and Jorwerd: The death of The Village in Late Twentieth Century Europe. His latest book is called The Bridge and in it he focuses on one bridge in the city of Istanbul and the people who cross it, who work on it and who are drawn to it.

From: The Books Show, Radio National ABC, 26 June 2008

See also: Travel books about Istanbul.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Information access in technical and scientific literature

Timothy BaldwinThe National Library of Australia runs an excellent series of free Digital Culture talks. The next is "Information access in technical and scientific literature: search and you may possibly find", 12.30, Friday 27 June 2008 at the National Library of Australia Theatre, Canberra:
The phenomenal success of web search engines such as Google is built on massive data redundancy, guiding users from simplistic queries to relevant information sources. For domains such as technical and scientific literature, however, this redundancy is severely limited, due to editorial controls on originality of content. Here there is a clear need to go beyond simple keyword search in order to service what are often complex information needs. In this talk I will present a frank and accessible account of text mining techniques developed to enhance information access, and abstract away from simple word sequences to syntactically and semantically richer representations of the information encoded in text.

Timothy Baldwin is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering, University of Melbourne. His research - funded by the ARC, NICTA, NTT, Google and others - encompasses computational and theoretical linguistics, text mining, text categorisation and information retrieval. He has given invited talks at various conferences, summer schools and universities worldwide, and is the author of over 100 journal and conference publications. He is currently on the editorial board of Computational Linguistics, a series editor for CSLI Publications, and a member of the Deep Linguistic Processing with HPSG Initiative (DELPH-IN).

Timothy Baldwin will be introduced by Kent Fitch,
Programmer, IT Division, National Library of Australia
Time: 12.30 to 13.30
Date: Friday 27 June 2008
Venue: National Library of Australia Theatre
This is a free event

Bobby Graham
Web Content Manager
Web Publishing Branch, IT Division
National Library of Australia

Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICT

Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICTThe University of Melbourne will be hosting a Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICT, November 25 & 26, 2008. The event is by invitation only, but there are a few spots left, if someone feels they have something to contribute. No doubt the UoM would also welcome so sponsorship:
The ongoing and rapid growth of Information and Communications Technologies (ICT), including the Internet, is an integral part of todays commercial, economic and social reality. However, it has now become clear that the current exponential growth of ICT and the Internet is not sustainable. Major ICT and Internet based companies are already experiencing difficulties due to the size and power requirements of servers, routers and data centres.

For several years the ARC Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN), based at the University of Melbourne, has been researching aspects of the power and size required by technologies used in the Internet today and in the future. This team, lead by Professor Rodney Tucker, is one of only a handful of international research teams that are investigating the long term sustainability of ICT and the Internet.

This type of research is vital to ICT practitioners, companies and other experts who design, specify, build and utilise the Internet.

Therefore, CUBIN is organising a two day Symposium on the Sustainability of the Internet and ICT. This Symposium will have two themes:
  1. Sustainability of ICT and the Internet (Day 1)
  2. Using ICT and the Internet to improve environmental sustainability (Day 2)
The Symposium will be held on Tuesday 25th and Wednesday 26th of November 2008 at the University of Melbourne, Parkville in Victoria.

The Symposium will focus on a range of critical issues including:
  • Energy demands of future ICT & Internet equipment
  • Sustainable architectures and protocols for the future
  • The impact of ICT/Internet growth in developing nations
  • Regulation and the sustainability of the Internet
  • Growth of Internet services and sustainability
The Symposium will offer the following benefits to participants:
  • Learn about technologies and design practices to reduce data centre power consumption
  • Be exposed to forthcoming technologies which promise a faster and lower power Internet
  • Collect ideas on how to use the Internet to reduce your company's carbon footprint
  • Influence industry regulation rather than just being a victim of it
  • Contribute to and learn from discussions with other experts in the field
  • Participate in developing research plans to address the key challenges to a sustainable Internet ...
From: About the Symposium on Sustainability of the Internet and ICT, University of Melbourne, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

No Flash Stickers for Museums

Post It NotesThe constant sound you hear in many museums is "No Flash!". A solution to this would be to issue the staff with red post it notes to stick over the flash of cameras.

Many museums allow photography, but not flash photography, due to the risk of damage to light sensitive items and the distraction to other visitors. But many people have difficulty turning off the flash on their digital cameras.

My suggested solution is to issue the museum staff with red "Post It" note paper. When the staff see someone use a flash, they could stick one of these over the flash unit. The red coloring would block out most of the light of the flash and particularly the harmful UV light. When the person left the museum, they could remove the tag, with no harm to their camera.

If this became popular, Post It notes with "No Flash!" printed on the could be specially made for museums.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

A Web of Australia LiteratureAustralia literature trapped in the web

Cover of Gilgamesh: A Novel By Joan LondonOn my travels through Greece recently, I met Australian Joan London. As I had just came from Turkey, she mentioned she had written a book touching on Armenia. It was not until then, I realized this was the Australian author of Gilgamesh (2001), which the UK The Guardian gave a very favorable review of.

In the first posting of his new, and very insightful, Canberra Times Blog, Colin Steele discusses the positive and negative effects of the web on authors. One aspect Colin did not mention is the effect on how books are sold. Australian authors suffer from being in a small sub-category of literature. This can make their books hard to find online.

In my work as an ICT consultant I advise companies about how to make their products and services visible on the web. Perhaps I should be offering this service to authors as well. In looking for Joan's books, I noticed a few problems:
  1. Author's name: "Joan London" is not sufficiently unique. While a search will find her books, it will also find references to people named "Joan" in the city of London.
  2. Book names: There are a lot of books with Gilgamesh in the title. As an example looking for "London Gilgamesh" finds a restaurant in London, as well as the book. Looking for her latest, The Good Parents, in Amazon, will big up a lot of self help books for parents if you use just "good parents" for the search.
  3. Publishing location: A book published in Australia is not listed, or not listed as quickly, in online catalogs, as ones from the US and UK.
None of this would be a problem for a trained librarian, like Colin, or for someone who knew exactly what they were looking for. But for the average person doing a web search for a book, or author, they heard mentioned, it can be the difference between finding, or not finding the book and therefore resulting in a sale or no sale.

Enlightened publishers can also make the web search process easier. As an example, Grove Press, have permitted the full text of Gilgamesh to be searched, via This allows customers to find the book in a search and for me to be able to find there are 36 pages with references to Armenia and see exactly what they were. This facility is most useful for non-fiction, but can also allow a potential reader to find a book they may be interested in.

See also: Australian Authors, Joan London.

Wireless Local Positioning Systems

NICTA are hosting a seminar on Wireless Local Positioning Systems by Reza Zekavat, from Michigan Technological University, 26 June 2008 in Canberra:

Wireless Local Positioning Systems
Reza Zekavat (Michigan Technological University)

DATE: 2008-06-26
TIME: 13:00:00 - 14:00:00
LOCATION: NICTA - 7 London Circuit

Wireless systems capable of positioning mobiles remotely in complex mobile environments have emerging applications in homeland security, law enforcement, defense command and control, multi-robot coordination, and traffic alert such as vehicle-to-vehicle and vehicle-to-pedestrian collision avoidance. These systems promise to dramatically reduce the society's vulnerabilities to catastrophic events and improve the quality of life. The talk presents a novel wireless local positioning system (WLPS) recently patented by Michigan Tech University (MTU).

The proposed WLPS has two main components: 1) a base station deployed in a mobile (e.g., vehicles, robots or handhelds) that serves as a Dynamic Base Station (DBS); and 2) a transponder (TRX) installed in wireless mobile handhelds, robots and vehicles that act as Active Targets. Unique identification (ID) codes are assigned to each TRX. DBS transmits periodic ID request (IDR) signals in its coverage area. Transponders reply to IDR signals as soon as they detect them. Depending on applications, each mobile in the coverage field may be equipped with only DBS, only TRX, or both. Such a framework offers attractive features: (i) high probability-of-detection performance via active as opposed to passive targets, (ii) low-cost TRX made of simple transceivers, and, (iii) infrastructure-less operation via dynamic as opposed to static base stations.

Dr. Seyed A. (Reza) Zekavat received his B.S. degree from Shiraz University, Iran, in 1989, M.S. degree from Sharif University of Technology, Iran, in 1993, and Ph.D. from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado in 2002. He has over 10 years of teaching and research experience both in the United States and abroad. He has published more than 75 journal and conference papers, and has co-authored two books and invited chapters published by Kluwer Academic Publishers and Springer. His research interests are in wireless communications at the physical layer, dynamic spectrum allocation methods, radar theory, blind separation and beam forming techniques, feature extraction, and Curriculum Development. His current research is supported by the National Science Foundation and many Other Agencies through several active grants totaling over $1,500,000. He is also an active technical program committee member for several IEEE international conferences. At Michigan Tech, he has founded two research laboratories on wireless systems, and is currently principal advisor for several PhD students.

Monday, June 23, 2008

NZ Laptops for Principals and Teachers scheme

The NZ Ministry of Education has issued a Request for Proposal to assist with the management of the “Laptops for Principals and Teachers scheme”:
The currently facilitate the supply of laptops to principals and teachers, through a schools’ leasing programme.

The provision of laptops to principals and teachers through the Laptop Scheme commenced in 2002. Currently there are over 40,000 principals and teachers, in over 2500 schools, leasing laptops under the scheme. There is the potential for this figure to increase over the next two years.

We are seeking proposals from suitable organisations to assist with the management of this scheme, for the period July 2008 to June 2010.

The successful contractor will be expected to:

• manage the tender and contract process, including all documentation, tender processing, and contract negotiations, with successful tenderers, for the variety of contracts under the Laptop Scheme.
• assist the Ministry to monitor and evaluate the performance of contractors and negotiate contract variations
• provide legal contract advice
• provide financial advice regarding contracts where applicable.
• report regularly to the Ministry

Responses to the RFP will be expected to cover the following:

• previous service to government organisations
• experience with managing large tenders
• experience with managing this type of process
• outline of management approach to provide the service
• legal and financial capability for providing quality advice
• cost structure per phase of the service

From: Principals and Teachers scheme, Request for Proposal , GETS Reference: 22318, NZ Ministry of Education

UK Government fails own web accessibility guidelines

The UK Government's Central Office of Information (COI) has set a minimum standard of accessibility for public sector websites. Unfortunately their web site detailing the policy fails to meet the standard set, makes misleading claims of conformance with the standard and does not comply with their own guidelines.

The COI has set a minimum standard of accessibility for new UK public sector websites at Level Double-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines . This is required as of December 2009 for central government departments and March 2011 for central government executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies.

The COI suggests using free and commercially available automated testing tools as part of measuring accessibility. However, applying one such test, the Web Accessibility Test (TAW), the COI's page failed with eight level 2 problems (excerpt of the report appended). This indicates that the page does not meet at Level Double-A of the W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines. The problems with the page are minor and easily corrected.

The COI's help page, states that the "... website's objective are to conform to the Guidelines for UK government websites, which support the W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0, Level AA, to ensure a Web accessibility standard have been achieved and are maintained." The statement is misleading, as it suggests the web site meets Level Double-A, when it does not. Also the statement does not use the wording suggested in COI's own policy document.

In contrast the Australian Government accessibility policy requires a lower level of compliance, to Level A of the W3C guidelines. The web page from the Australian Government Information Management Office (Australian equivalent to UK COI) stating this requirement not only meets this requirement, but exceeds it, passing the more stringent automated Level Double-A test (excerpt appended), which the UK COI failed.

UK Government Web Page Test

TAW Logo
TAW 3.0 (6/24/08 1:11 AM) Validation conform to WAI guidelines, W3C Recommendation 5 May 1999
Anar a la pàgina principal de Fundación CTIC
Test summary outcome

AutomaticHuman review
Priority 1049
Priority 2837
Priority 3Not analysed

2. Human review1. Human review1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review2. Automatic1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review2. Human review
1. Human review1. Human review2. Human reviewImages from COI's public information films: Backwards (Fire Safety); Teacher (Road Safety); Arms Length (Firework Safety)
1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review
This page was printed from the COI website at 00:11 on Tuesday, 24 Jun 2008. It is subject to © Crown Copyright.
2. Human review1. Human review1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review 2. Human review1. Human review1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review

Found issues: ...

Priority 2[WAI] Priority 2 accessibility issues. A Web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents. 8 automatically detected problems and 37 problems that require human review have been found.

3.5 Use header elements to convey document structure and use them according to specification.

  • Human review required Verify that all headers are properly marked up ("h1"-"h6" elements).
  • Improper header nesting: Header levels must not increase by more than one level per heading. Do not use headings to create font effects; use style sheets to change font styles (1)
    • Line 32:

11.2 Avoid deprecated features of W3C technologies.

  • This HTML element uses deprecated attributes. (7)
    • Line 19:
    • Line 38:
    • Line 38:
    • Line 38:
    • Line 49:
      1. Line 54:
      2. Line 55:


From: TAW 3.0 Validation Testing outcome for, to WAI guidelines, W3C Recommendation 5 May 1999, as at 6/24/08

Australian Government Web Page Test

TAW Logo
TAW 3.0 (6/24/08 1:25 AM) Validation conform to WAI guidelines, W3C Recommendation 5 May 1999
Anar a la pàgina principal de Fundación CTIC
Test summary outcome

AutomaticHuman review
Priority 1030
Priority 2037
Priority 3Not analysed

2. Human review1. Human review1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review2. Human review


1. Human review2. Human reviewThis item is a mandatory requirement

Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a system is usable by as many people as possible without modification. Web pages often have access issues for people with disabilities or with technological constraints.

Australian Government departments and agencies are also required to maximise their use of new technologies by ensuring that their websites address access and equity issues for people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds.

Tell Me About?

The Australian Government aims to achieve fairer and more accessible government services and programs through its Access and Equity Strategy. The strategy seeks to promote fairness and responsiveness in the design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of government services in a culturally diverse society.

The Government's Access and Equity Strategy is guided by the Access and Equity Framework (Department of Immigration and Citizenship) formerly known as the Accessible Government Services for All Framework. It was developed in 2006 in consultation with Australian Government agencies, taking into account their ability to contribute both as separate portfolios and to whole-of government responses to the challenges faced by our culturally diverse nation.

Its four principles, and the corresponding performance indicators, address key responsibilities of government:
  • Responsiveness – Extent to which programs and services are accessible, fair and responsive to the individual needs of clients
  • Communication – Open and effective channels of communication with all stakeholders
  • Accountability – Effective and transparent reporting and review mechanisms
  • Leadership – A whole of government approach to management of issues arising from Australia’s culturally and linguistically diverse society.

The framework suggests strategies for the implementation of these principles. It aims to assist agencies to analyse their performance and better share good practice responses to challenges and opportunities.

Progress in implementing the Access and Equity Strategy is published in the Access and Equity Annual Reports (Department of Immigration and Citizenship).

Why Must I?

Under the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 agencies must ensure that people with disabilities have the same fundamental rights to access information as the rest of the community.

Under the Commonwealth Disability Strategy, (Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs) Australian Government agencies are obligated to remove barriers which prevent people with disabilities from having access to their policies, programs and services.

Under the 2000 Government Online Strategy departments and agencies are required to comply with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (World Wide Web Consortium).

Agencies must achieve level "A" conformance (all Priority 1 checkpoints are satisfied), and it is recommended that agencies achieve level "AA" conformance (all Priority 1 and Priority 2 checkpoints are satisfied).

The W3C guidelines explain how to make web content accessible to people with disabilities. However, following them will also make web content more available to all users. These guidelines do not discourage content developers from using images, video, etc., but rather explain how to make multimedia content more accessible to a wide audience.

The Web Content Accessibility Guidelines

The W3C guidelines provide a series of checkpoints that can be used to ensure that websites are accessible. Each checkpoint has a priority level assigned by the Working Group based on the checkpoint's impact on accessibility.

Priority 1

W3C states that a web content developer must satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it impossible to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint is a basic requirement for some groups to be able to use Web documents.

Level of Compliance: The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission's view is that compliance with the W3C WCAG 1.0 guidelines to the Single-A level is a minimum rather than a desirable outcome. Websites that demonstrate such compliance may still be difficult or impossible to access for many users with a disability.

Priority 2

W3C states that a web content developer should satisfy this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will remove significant barriers to accessing Web documents.

Priority 3

W3C states that a web content developer may address this checkpoint. Otherwise, one or more groups will find it somewhat difficult to access information in the document. Satisfying this checkpoint will improve access to Web documents.

How Do I?

The Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission provides information on World Wide Web Accessibility standards, guidelines, tools and techniques.

Government resources

Other resources

Who Can Help?

A list of workshops and training is available from HREOC - World Wide Web Accessibility.

For queries and assistance contact Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission - 1. Human

For further details regarding access and equity requirements, contact:

Multicultural Affairs Branch
Department of Immigration and Citizenship
1. Human reviewaccess&

What's Related?

2. Human review1. Human review1. Human review1. Human review2. Human review1. Human review...

From: TAW 3.0 Validation
Testing outcome for
conform to WAI guidelines, W3C Recommendation 5 May 1999, 6/24/08 1:25 AM