Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Inaugural Australia-Japan Young Professional Exchange Network

Inaugural Australia-Japan Young Professional Exchange NetworkAnastasia Govan sent me her report from the Inaugural Australia-Japan Young Professional Exchange Network. A version will be published by the ACS, but in the interim, here are some edited highlights. Apologies for any errors I may have introduced:


The Australia Japan Foundation and Professions Australia worked together to facilitate Australia's young professionals to build long term collaborative relationships with their Japanese counterparts.

A delegation of young professionals took part in The Australia-Japan Young Professional Exchange Network to Tokyo from 13th- 17th November 2006.

The Australian Computer Society nominated Anastasia Govan, Australian Computer Society Board Director Young IT to Professions Australia for the Australian Young Professional of the Year award. Anastasia was successful and as Young Professional of the Year joined the exchange.

The objective of this initiative was to:

  • Advance Australian professional and business interests in Japan through support of a young professionals network that will initiate a range of activities (including study tours, workshops and conferences, exchanges, joint projects, participation in FTA-related discussions
  • Promote discussion sharing of ideas, and promotion of each countries interests
  • Build constructive and mutually beneficial relationships between young professionals in Japan and Australia (includes support of individual projects)
  • Engage business, the professional services sector, professional associations and their members as important stakeholders
  • Establish a dialogue on important cross professional and specific professional issues and to achieve Japanese counterpart support for the initiative
  • Identify a profession specific project to progress with Japanese candidates

Overview of ICT climate in Japan

  • Linux uptake is huge in Tokyo

  • Large commercial viability for consultancy and market infiltration of products supporting digital repositories, content management, workflow, Records/knowledge/electronic document management

  • Australia should consider investing in the large and popular ICT buildings such as Sony and BIC Camera in Japan and Computer Centres in Chaing Mai and Bangkok where any computer related hardware, software and peripherals can be purchased on multiple floors

  • IT and Finance were reported as the most difficult professions for women to enter and remain

  • In the last 10 years since the Japanese recession there has been an increase in the number of small businesses - particularly started by younger generation

  • There are large differences with the business etiquette of the older generation (traditional) to Gen Y (westernised)

  • Multi national companies may view English speaking westerners favourably for ICT with many recruiting firms set up to specifically meet this market and assist with working visa's etc.

  • Current ICT shortages in all areas

  • Development area is developing gaming for phones using java - requirement to speak Japanese

  • To acquire a working visa for ICT you need 10 years relevant work experience and a Bachelor or higher degree

  • It takes minimum 6-8 weeks to recruit a foreigner

  • Hospitalisation rates due to work related stress are high

  • Many foreigners enter to work in Japan as English teachers in the hope of finding work in their specialist field

  • Numbers are decreasing in ICT University courses - have very few mature age' Australian equivalents

  • Technologists are called Engineers along with several other separate professions in Australia

  • Recently held first ICT Career Fair in Tokyo

  • Free Trade Agreement negotiations based upon US FTA which has further ramifications for Australians complying with copyright in digital form

  • Trend is moving towards more temporary positions and hiring first through a recruitment agency before taking on ICT employee permanently

  • Knowledge of business etiquette

  • Knowledge of Language

  • Claustrophobia!!

  • Young professionals are often older than 35 years of age and male

  • Difficult to identify female and young professionals as really need to be introduced by a colleague


Digital Eve Japan

Over the last 10 years the Digital Eve group has grown from 8 to over 700 members. DigitalEve Japan promotes women's digital lifestyles by offering a supportive community and programs tuned to women using IT in their workplace and in their everyday lives.

The members are Japanese and foreign women living in Japan who span a wide range of ages, technical and cultural backgrounds, and lifestyles. Many work in technology-related jobs, such as web designers/producers, programmers, videographers, writers, information architects, content developers, graphic designers, project managers and recruiters, or are seeking jobs in the field.

Digital Eve's mission is to;

  • Empower members to become top-level leaders, professionals, role models and mentors in their fields through the understanding and use of technology.
  • Build, on all levels, an effective networking resource including strong technology industry relationships.
  • Create an international, bilingual community to share technology experiences and cross-cultural understanding.
  • Include all women--of all races, ethnicities, economic levels, ages, languages, abilities and lifestyles--as participants in our community.
  • Offer access to resources, information and a community-based network for women.
  • Develop low-cost, readily accessible educational opportunities in digital technology.
  • Encourage women and girls to pursue technology-related careers.
  • Advocate that women have economic, social and cultural equality in the field of technology
  • Promote positive, balanced working conditions and lifestyles for women using technology in the workplace.

National Institute of Informatics

As Japan's only general academic research institution seeking to create future value in the new discipline of informatics, the National Institute of Informatics (NII) seeks to advance integrated research and development activities in information-related fields, including networking, software, and content.

These activities range from theoretical and methodological work to applications. As an inter-university research institute, NII promotes the creation of a state-of-the-art academic-information infrastructure (the Cyber Science Infrastructure, or CSI) that is essential to research and education within the broader academic community, with a focus on partnerships and other joint efforts with universities and research institutions throughout Japan, as well as industries and civilian organizations. Founded in April 2000, the NII marked its new beginning in April 2004 as a member of the Research Organization of Information and Systems.

Ringo MUG (AppleMac group)

Tokyo's English speaking Mac User Group meet monthly at the Apple Plaza in the IT centre of Ginza and share information on life with a Mac or PC in Tokyo by meeting in person, through RSS feeds and bulletin boards online.

Skillhouse Staffing Solutions K.K.

Skillhouse Staffing Solutions K.K. (Skillhouse) provides specialty staffing services focusing on Information Technology (IT) and Administrative Support.

By focusing resources on these two specialty areas, Skillhouse are able to apply our best-of-breed due diligence, testing, qualifying and matching methodologies to ensure our clients have the best talent available to them.

Become Japan

Founded in 2004 Become Japan is an web based ebusiness assisting people to make ideal shopping decisions through provision of research, product and price comparison search engines.

Embedded Technology Conference

Embedded Technology 2006 is the largest trade show and conference for embedded system designers and managers. It introduces advanced technologies and solutions for emerging embedded applications, including digital consumer electronics, automotive, wireless/ubiquitous computing and factory automation.

  • Trianz: Indian consulting company merging into Japan market
  • Telelogic Japan (Telelogic lifecycle solutions:software change, requirements management and configuration management - delivering lifecycle control of your software assets being used by Westpac in Australia)

Australian Resource Centre, Australia Japan Foundation, Australian Embassy

The Australia-Japan Foundation, established by the Australian Government in 1976, contributes to the bilateral relationship by playing a strategic role expanding relations and understanding between people and organisations from both countries.

The Resource Centre operates a full on-line lending service available throughout Japan. It also houses a unique online database of over 1200 academic papers about Australia, in Japanese. The library runs a Salon Seminar series, provides materials on Australia to schools free-of-charge, and is a key contact point for Australian Studies scholarships and activity in Japan.

Links to other ICT groups

Suggestions for the Japan to Australia Young Professional exchange 2007

  • Invitations to NII researchers and young professionals to take part in a 2007 exchange to Australia

  • Japanese counterparts and the 2006 Exchange participants attend/present paper at the 2050 Conference

  • Japanese counterparts attend/present paper for the 2008 Sydney International Young IT Australian Computer Society Conference, present to associations such as Australian Library and Information Association and Australian Computer Society as part of their National education across the nation presentation.

Feedback on future Australia to Japan exchanges

  • Introductory business etiquette and language course by local Japanese community group/s before making contact for prospective meetings

  • Previous years exchange delegation involved in mentoring/providing leads for the new delegation maybe done during the proposed workshop of previous Australian delegates and current Japanese delegates in each country

  • Each year rotate professions taking part - possibly include Librarian, Records Manager or Archivist next year (only RMAA is a member of PA).


Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Apple Designer Bio Worth a Browse

iWoz by Steve Wozniak - cover
While waiting for a plane recently I did something I almost never do: bought a book. Rather than an airport novel it was IWoz by Steve Wozniak. This is an autobiography written with Gina Smith. The section of the book dealing with Wozniak's design of the Apple 2 computer should be read by anyone interested in how technology products are designed or the ethos of engineering.
Less interesting is the section on Steve Wozniak early life and the later sections on his activities prompting rock concerts.
The insights the book gives into the development of one of the most important personal computers are very valuable. But I found the language the book is written in to be frustrating. It is as if it was written using simplified English for a young audience. This may have been the case (or perhaps this is how the author naturally speaks) but it make the book a bit dull.
Also Steve Wozniak's naivety when it comes to dealing with business and the press is a little difficult to believe. He recounts how on leaving Apple he gave an interview in which he criticised some practices at Apple. He recalls how he was surprised and disappointed when this was given as his reason for leaving Apple in the subsequent article. He goes on to say he still doesn't understand why that was done.
There are also some veiled criticisms of Steve Jobs in the book which do not quite ring true. But then perhaps we have to take Steve Wozniak at face value as a genuine engineering genius but not a business one.
The best bit of the book was the description of the urge to get the chip count of the Apple 2 down and to produce a very simple floppy disk controller. I cursed the Apple 2 floppy disk system. While it was a model of simplicity, it wasn't compatible with anything else and had a few quirks which made it hard to work with.

E- publishing for Academics

Cover of Improving Implementation by John WannaGreetings from the ANU Library in Canberra. The University's e-Press staff just gave a presentation on how to do Open Access e-publishing of e-books. The e-Press also sells print-on-demand paper copies of the books as well. The e-Press publishes books by authors at the ANU and associated with it. There will be another seminar 2 March 2007, for details contact: anuepress(a)

An example of a recent book produced is "Improving Implementation - Organisational Change and Project Management" by John Wanna. You can download the books for free in PDF, HTML and mobile formats. The whole book is available in one PDF file, as well as one chapter [er file. The HTML version has one print page per web page. The mobile format is a simplified HTML for PDAs.

This book will appeal to government people:
The business of government is necessarily diverse, changing and of considerable scale. A focus on improving the implementation of government programs and initiatives is important because the community expects the Government to deliver on its policies, as does the Government.

The papers included in this collection address numerous aspects of improving implementation. They were initially presented at the Project Management and Organisational Change conference held in Canberra in February 2006, the first annual research conference organised by ANZSOG in conjunction with the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. This collection represents a comprehensive drawing together of experience and insight from both practitioners and academic researchers, with speakers including top public sector executives from the Australian jurisdictions as well as representatives from the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand.

Secure Web Searching in Orgainsations

Recommended. CSIRO have spun off their search technology in the Funnelback product and ANU IT students working on searching with CSIRO have gone on to work for Google and Microsoft:


Secure Search inside the Enterprise

Peter Bailey, (The ICT Centre, CSIRO)

DATE: 2007-02-28
TIME: 16:00:00 - 17:00:00
LOCATION: CSIT Seminar Room, N101

Providing secure search in the presence of document level security (DLS) is so easy in theory that no one has written papers about it until now. In practice, it turns out that while implementing it is (mostly) easy, user expectations of the search experience get in the way of getting it right. A model of the main factors in secure search implementations is presented, together with an analysis of search performance in an experimental DLS environment. Various conclusions are drawn from the results and about the tradeoffs which can be made to optimise for the user's search experience. Note that we do not attempt to describe how a DLS system itself should be implemented - the search system typically must use whatever underlying security mechanisms exist.

Dr Peter Bailey is the leader of the Search and Delivery Project in the CSIRO ICT Centre

How many web sites does it take to change a light bulb?

Screen Shot from Sustainable Energy Training Package from Swan TAFEAmongst the online training modules in the Australian Flexible Learning Framework is "Sustainable Energy" from Swan TAFE in WA. This teaches how to assess a home for low energy use.

The module is a similar price to others in the AFLF catalog: $409.15 For this you can train an unlimited number of people and modify the content under the AEShareNet-S "Share and Return" Licence. You can preview the module online.

Such courses could be very useful in teaching about how to reduce energy use.

UTE99 Electrotechnology Industry Qualifications

UTE10202 Certificate I in Sustainable Energy (Electrotechnology)

National Training Quality Council Noted logoThis product has been noted (endorsed) by the National Training Quality Council (NTQC).


This Toolbox is completed and can be purchased from Australian Training Products. Description

The Sustainable Energy Toolbox contains a range of stand-alone resources that have been developed to support the delivery of the Certificate I in Sustainable Energy (Electrotechnology).

The Toolbox supports two units of competency and offers a range of learning objects containing resources and tools to support the elements and performance criteria for each of the competencies.

The resources and activities contained within this Toolbox introduce learners to the concept of sustainable energy.

Within the Toolbox setting learners take on the role of a '
Trainee Energy Consultant'. Then 'trainee' works with the 'experts' employed by ener-G-smart, an international sustainable and renewable energy research consultancy company. The learning activities encourage 'discovery learning and include interactive and engaging 'real life' simulated scenarios.

Learners will interact with the content, resources and 'virtual clients to experience, gain and apply the skills, knowledge and abilities required to successfully monitor energy consumption and apply sustainable energy practices in domestic premises and the workplace.


UTENES061A Provide basic sustainable energy solutions for energy reduction in domestic premises UTENES062A Apply sustainable energy practice in daily activities ...

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saving Water in Public Buildings

Enware  Sensor Activated Flushing UrinalWith water restrictions in place in Australian cities one of the frustrations is to go into a public building and see water being wasted. While Australian governments are requiring private citizens to save water, their own agencies are wasting it.

As an example I have sent a quick note to one Canberra library suggesting they fix their toilets. Water is leaking from the cistern down the drain in one and the urinals self flush every minute or so. The result is thousands of liters of drinking water water wasted each day.

It would just take a few minutes for a plumber to fix or replace the leaking valve. At the same time they could adjust the urinals to flush less often. A Sensor Activated Flush could be installed which only works when someone is present (at least it would stop the flushing over night when the building is deserted).
The movement of a user at the urinal is detected by the detector & control module. After a delay of about 50 seconds the urinal is flushed by the water actuator. Once the urinal is flushed all user movements are ignored for 20 seconds to reduce unnecessary water wastage. The sensor reactivates and waits for another user.

Enware tapware range- Electronic hands free (Urinal flushing devices), Enware Australia Pty Limited
Waterless Urinal TrapBetter still would be a waterless urinal. Some of these use a cartridge filled with vegetable oil to form an air tight seal to stop smells. This needs maintenance. Other units use a flexible plastic seal:
  • Urine flows down the waste.
  • The silicone diaphragm opens, allowing liquid to pass through.
  • One urine has flow through the diaphragm, it closes.
  • When the diaphragm is closed, a positive seal is created, therefor trapping odors within the pipes and not in the atmosphere.
From: How does it work?, Britex
The Australian Government is handing out $200M in Community Water Grants for such water saving devices. Unfortunately federal government agencies can't apply for the grants. But local government can:
Improving Water Efficiency in Boroondara's Public Conveniences

$38,315.50 (+ GST)

Proponent: City of Boroondara, VIC

This project will save water by replacing 15 full flush toilets with dual flush toilets and 7 water flushing urinals with waterless urinals at four public facilities. This will save an estimated 789,000L of water per year. A community education program will be undertaken as a part of this project.

From: Details of Demonstration Round projects - Local government projects, Department of the Environment and Water Resources, 2006
See also:

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Trying Amazon.Com

e-Learning by Design By William Horton (Book Cover)After detailing how works, someone asked me what it was like as a bookstore: Are the prices good? Do the books take a long time to arrive? I had to admit I had never bought anything (just taken commissions). I thought I should try Amazon, so ordered a copy of William Horton's e-Learning by Design.

At the local ACT Library had I found "Designing Web Based Training" by William Horton (2000). This is a very useful book on
how to set up online courses. But it is a bit dated and does not include the recent development with standards for web based courseware. If you are using a package such as Moodle, you need to worry less about the web design of the course as that is largely set by the package.

The same author had the
more recent "e-Learning by Design" (July 2006), so I ordered a copy via Amazon. As well as be useful for creating a course it would allow me to test the Amazon ordering process.

The book was offered for $AU77.95 by bookstores in Australia. Amazon charged $US39.50. At the current exchange rate, even allowing for shipping (
$US11.98), this is a total of $AU65.52, which is 16% less than the Australian bookstore. I bought the book via my own Amazon store, so I will get a commission on the sale, reducing the price by another 6%.

I ordered the book last Friday morning and Amazon sent me a message shortly after to say the book had been shipped and was expected to arrive 9 March. The book actually arrived on the following Thursday morning, taking less than a week. This was using the lowest cost, slowest method of shipping. It is a very impressive result and I can now confidently say of Amazon that the prices are good and the books do not take a long time to arrive.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

ICT Industry In Australia, Canberra, 21 March 2007

The talk I organized by the AIIA has been incorporated into a Toyota ANU Public Lecture Series, so make sure you book to get a seat:
Toyota ANU Public Lecture Series 2007

Sheryle MoonThe ICT Industry In Australia
Sheryle Moon
CEO, Australian Information Industry Association

Wednesday 21 March 2007, 4-5pm
Room N101, Computer Science and Information Technology Building, North Road, ANU

This lecture is free and open to the public. Please RSVP as seating is limited. RSVP email only E: deanne.drummond (a)

The Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) leads the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) industry in Australia. AIIA comprises almost 500 member companies that generate combined annual revenues of more than $40 billion, employ 100,000 Australians, and export more than $2 billion in goods and services each year. This public lecture will discuss the strategic direction of the Australian ICT industry and the changes in public policy that are needed to accelerate business growth.

Sheryle Moon is the Chief Executive Officer of the AIIA. Sheryle has worked in the ICT sector for more than 25 years in senior leadership positions including Vice President of Computer Sciences Corporation, and a managing partner of Accenture. In 1999, she was named Australian Business Woman of the Year, and she currently sits on a number of Australian Government advisory boards.

Moon has a Bachelor of Economics (ANU) and a number of postgraduate qualifications, including a Masters of Management in Technology. ANU Colege of Enginering & Computer Science presents:

The views expressed in this lecture are those of the presenter and do not necessarily represent the views of ANU or Toyota Australia. CRICOS# 00120C

For more information on the Toyota ANU lecture series T: 6125 4144

Join the ANU Public Lectures mailing list

Community and Environmental Facility at White Street

This is a comment on Development Application: D/2007/31, 31 White St, Lilyfield NSW 2040: "$500,000 Alterations and additions to existing building".

This was previously described as the "Community and Environmental Facility at White Street", in the Leichhardt Municipal Council Media Release 19 January 2004:
"Concept plans for a new and unique multi-use community facility in Annandale ... The major focus of the project is to retain as much of the existing structure as possible whilst incorporating many innovative environmental features. The plans include composting toilets, on site waste water treatment, use of solar and wind power and community veggie gardens. ... The design of the centre incorporates meeting rooms, office space and an education centre. ..."
While the media release talks about "composting toilets, on site waste water treatment, use of solar and wind power", of these only a solar hot water system appears to be included in the plans submitted for the building. Composting toilets, on site waste water treatment, and wind power appear to have been dropped.

I suggest enhancing the water conservation features which are in the design by:
  1. Increasing the size of the proposed water tank and expanding its use,
  2. Increasing the water saving rating of fixtures from AAA to AAAA.
Also I suggest the council place all future plans, online for community consultation. By not providing the detailed plans online the council is excluding a large section of the community from consultation and is increasing the cost of the planning process.


The plans include a 5,000 l rainwater tank for watering the gardens. But the tank is too small and too limited in use to make a significant contribution to water savings. I suggest the tank be increased by six times to about 30,000 litres in capacity and the water be used for flushing the toilets as well as watering the garden. A larger tank would not take up significantly more space. nor significantly increase the cost of the project. It would provide much greater water savings.

Comparison of tank sizes:

Capacity (Litres) Height (m) Diameter (m) Cost Model
5,000 2.08 1.83 $1,190.00 1913
27,000 2.67 3.85 $3,793.00 2046

Tanks and prices from Irrigation Warehouse used for comparison.


The plans call for Water Services Association Australia (WSAA) AAA (3A) rated water fixtures. I suggest this be increased to the more efficient AAAA (4A) rating.


Local authorities, such as that of the ACT, publish the full details of development applications online. The Leichhardt Municipal Council does not appear to do this and instead just publishes a list of applications and then requires the community to obtain a paper copy of the plans.

In the case of the Facility at White Street, the consultants were required by the Council to provide their plans in an electronic format. It should therefore have not been difficult to provide these online.

Not providing the plans online reduces the ability of the community be consulted. It also increases the cost to the Council (and ultimately to the community) by having to produce and distribute more paper copies. I suggest the Council implement an online process.


* Technology for Energy and Water Efficient Houses
* Energy and Water Saving Books and Products

ps: If you are wondering why someone with a Canberra address is commenting on part of Sydney, I spend part of my time there:

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Australian Military Computers

Opentec ruggedised PDAAustralian company OpenTec makes ruggedised portable computers for military and related applications. These units can run ordinary PC applications, as well as specialized military software. So we could see podcasting on the battlefield:
Since 1992, Opentec has been Australia's ONLY local designer and assembler of "ruggedised" mobile computer solutions. Acquired by PNE Industries in September of 2005, additional synergies have been created that make Opentec unique in the world of rugged computing and field-deployable applications.

Because we design and assemble locally, we offer levels of service, as well as levels of customisation, you won't find through resellers of imported product. And because rugged computers are our core business, you'll always experience the levels of technical support you'd expect from a supplier of such specialised equipment.

Our mobile computers and peripherals have been developed expressly for Australian conditions and over the past decade, have evolved to become the most durable field-deployable range on the Australian market. It's that track record that todays sees them used extensively in Defence (Army and Navy), Emergency Services (Police and Ambulance) and Field Service/Support environments around the country, as well as abroad.

And if you want a track record to give you confidence, then you only need consider that Opentec product has been standardised on by DoD Army for major projects, such as Gunnery Control, and Battlefield Command applications; as well as DoD Navy for hydrographic survey applications. When you explore the engineering features of our product, and consider the special applications we've engineered solutions for, you start to understand how it is we've become the largest local supplier of true rugged notebooks, tablets and PDAs.

But we're more than just a supplier of hardware. Our focus is the delivery of solutions for applications as diverse as Asset Management, GIS (Geographical Information Systems), Security and Access Control, Field Operations Management and Mobile Field Personnel Communications. And by partnering with innovative Australian businesses to develop new solutions that meet the needs of Australian and international customers, we continue to lead the way.

From "About Us - Opentec"

Flying Military Internet

ABCCC Crew Compartment (Wikipedia Photo)The US military is considering using a converted business jet as a flying Internet node, for relaying data from F-22 stealth fighters to other aircraft. The sensors could even be accessed using a mobile phone size terminal on the ground:
Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC), under two recently awarded contracts, will continue to enhance and expand the Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN), a forward-deployed airborne communications relay and network-centric enterprise information server that allows real-time information exchanges among many different, distant military and commercial communications systems.

The U.S. Department of Defense recently awarded the two contracts to Northrop Grumman: BACN Spiral Technical Phase II, a 16-month, $25 million contract for continuing development, and the Intraflight Datalink Gateway System, a 24-month, $8.5 million contract to integrate a data link allowing the F-22 Raptor to communicate with other platforms. ...

"BACN is the linchpin that integrates the Air Force's ConstellationNet to a global network capable of connecting users to the Global Information Grid. That network-centric system will give our warfighters access to information when and where they need it," said Mike Twyman, vice president of Northrop Grumman Mission Systems' communication and information systems business unit.

The Global Information Grid is the U.S. military's Internet-like network.

During JEFX 2006, BACN demonstrated the capability to provide, in operational conditions, fully-secured critical digital battlefield and voice information directly to airborne and ground units and command centers. JEFX was conducted April 21 to 28 at Nellis Air Force Base, Nev. ...

BACN provides a high-speed, Internet protocol (IP)-based airborne network infrastructure that supports seamless movement of imagery, video, voice and digital messages between disparate tactical data and IP networks, giving warfighters access to integrated, shared information and increasing collaboration. The waveforms supported include
single-channel ground and airborne radio system (SINCGARS), demand assigned multiple access (DAMA), enhanced position location reporting system (EPLRS)/situation awareness data link (SADL), Link 16, and IP-based networking connectivity using tactical targeting network technology, tactical common data link and 802.11b waveforms.

BACN also provides voice relay and bridging among different tactical and cellular voice systems. This cell phone-to-radio bridging would allow, for example, Special Operations Forces using a cell phone to call directly into a fighter cockpit for targeting information. It would also enable police and fire units to talk with ambulances and the National
Guard during a civil emergency. BACN employs a revolutionary capability developed by Northrop Grumman for the Joint Forces Command, the joint translator/forwarder, to accomplish digital-message transformation. ...

From: Northrop Grumman Continues to Expand Airborne Communications System; Phase II, F-22 Datalink Contracts Awarded, Global Security, Oct. 18, 2006
Battle Field Airborne Communications Node (BACN) was originally intended to work with UAVs:
The Battlefield Airborne Communications Node (BACN) is a military prototype for a remotely accessed, high altitude, and tactically oriented communications and networking node intended for use on Unmanned Aerial Vehicles. Initiated in December of 2005, it has four main components: ...

BACN is currently flying on a NASA flown, WB-57 aircraft while it transitions to a Gulfstream G500/G550 aircraft for future operations.

Battle Field Airborne Communications Node (BACN), Wikipedia, 2007

Monday, February 19, 2007

Download Movies to Set Top Box from Web Store

There are a lot of reports in the media about video and TV available on-line. However, this is still a lot harder then it looks. You need a lot of bandwidth to download broadcast quality video (some services are only offering thumbnail size images). Some free services are full of pirated TV shows, uploaded by viewers. It is not clear if the average person wants to watch TV on their computer. One interesting alternative is the partnership between Amazon and TiVo. have a service to sell or rent videos online: Unbox Video Downloads. These are a mixture of old moves and TV shows. Buying a download costs a bit less than a DVD. Rentals are a few dollars each. As an example the DVD of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" is $US19.99, whereas the download is $US14.95 to buy or $US3.99 to rent. But you need the broadband connection and to fiddle around with a computer to watch the download.

Amazon has now done a deal with TiVo, to allow videos to be downloaded direct to broadband connected TiVo set top boxes. The video is downloaded direct to the hard disk in the STB:
"Amazon and TiVo have joined forces to offer movies and TV shows that can be downloaded straight to TiVo DVRs via the set-top box's broadband Internet connection. "Amazon Unbox on TiVo" bridges the gap between Internet video and TV, offering a practical method of viewing Web-gathered content, but the offering may be too little too late for TiVo.

If hours of prerecorded TV content aren't enough for TiVo (Nasdaq: TIVO) subscribers, Amazon (Nasdaq: AMZN) will offer a solution. The digital video recorder (DVR) pioneer and the supersized online retailer announced their new "Amazon Unbox on TiVo" (AUT) service Wednesday.

For Amazon, the joint venture provides a captive audience more than one million strong.

For TiVo, the service adds another compelling feature to the device. However, will it attract new users? Will it be enough for a company that has all but been shut out of the market it created? ..."

From: Amazon, TiVo Partner for Direct-to-TV Downloads, By Walaika Haskins, 02/07/07, E-commerce Times

Slow Movement

The "Slow Movement" might be a reaction to the web speeding up life, although it seems to use the web to promote its cause:
The Slow movement is a cultural shift towards slowing down life's pace. The Slow movement proposes consciously seizing control of time rather than being dictated by it and finding a balance between using time-saving technology and taking the time to enjoy a walk or a meal with others. Proponents believe that while technology can speed up working, eating, dating, etc. the most important things in life should not be rushed.

From Slow Movement, Wikipedia, 2007
I am not sure if I quality; while traveling by bicycle would be "in", carrying it on a high speed train may not.


Friday, February 16, 2007

My First Cheque from Amazon ChequeThis photo is of my first cheque from Amazon.Com for selling products on my web site. In return for linking to Amazon from my web site, I get a commission on sales. This is not going to make me a fortune, but I wanted to see how it works as an example of e-commerce.

I gave the ANU e-commerce students a lecture on Web Services using the Amazon system. The students tend to doze off when I am telling them how to use the web, metadata and all that technical stuff to do business on-line. What gets their attention is when I talk about something selling books and use the magic words: "this is not just theory, I use this to make MONEY". :-)

Amazon provide facilities for showing products on-line, similar to Google's AdSense. But Amazon's systems seems less able to select products the customer would be interested in. I set the ANU students an assignment question to work out how to interface to Amazon's system to create a better service.

The Amazon commission did not earn enough for them to send me a payment for about a year (they don't send one until it gets to $US100). But last October it started earning $US100 a day. This dropped back to a few dollars a day shortly afterwards and I never worked out what caused the spike.

Banking the cheque from Amazon turned out to be difficult. Unlike Google, who send cheques in Australian dollars (and now have an electronic deposit option), drawn on an Australian bank, Amazon's was in US dollars. So I had to take it to a special counter at the bank. Amazon do not write on the cheque that it is in US dollars, nor that they are in the USA, which caused some confusion. The teller had never heard of "Amazon Services LCC" which made them suspicious. The address at a PO Box in "Incline Village, NV" made them more suspicious. From Google Maps, this seems to be a small settlement next to a golf course.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Coaster Automated Transport System

Coaster Automated Transport SystemSomething I read about in the State Library of Victoria was the Coaster, a European project for an automated transportation passenger system. Each Coaster vehicle carries 6 to 10 people and runs on a track similar to a roller coaster. The vehicles are battery powered, with recharging at the stations. The Coaster does not run to a timetable, but instead vehicles are computer scheduled at customer request. This is similar to the Australian Bishop Austrans system, but is in actual use. So I did a web page about it.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Getting a Second Life

Second Life: The Official Guide (Book Cover)After commenting on Kathryn Greenhill's talk on Second Life, I thought I should try it for myself. The registration process is much like other online services.

One difference is that you can't use you real name. You can enter your own first name, but then have to select from a limited set list of surnames. This may be to allow free reign to your imagination by using a pseudonym, but must be insulting for people from cultures where the offered names don't match what their names look like. I picked a name at random and then worried it may have some hidden meaning.

Second Life uses an optional step to register you with a payment system (I used my PayPal account). This seems to be to help authenticate the identity of the person, as well as allow you to pay for items in the system.

Then cam download the Second Life client for the computer. This is about 30 mbytes. It is downloading at 15 kbytes per second using the NLA's wireless connection. This raises the issue of access for those with limited bandwidth. I felt a little guilty about using up the NLA's bandwidth this way. But they did host a talk advocating Second Life for use by library patrons, so what can they expect. ;-)

When I tried to connect to second life I was unable to. It may be using ports which are blocked on the library connection.

Also I did a quick search on "second life" for the blind and came up with about half a million items, the first of which was about a class action for discrimination. Also I noticed discussion of a mobile hpne interface. This could use the same technology as an accessible interface.

From my home office I was able to start second life using my iBurst wireless connection. It worked fine on a 256/64 kbps link.

Your avatar starts on an orientation island where you have to complete a tutorial on basic use of the system, before you are allowed into the rest of the system. After completing one task (holding a "torch") the system froze and at that point I gave up.

This is not an extensive use of the system, but even after a few minutes I didn't like it much. If this were a conventional computer application the length and complexity of the tutorial needed before starting using the application would be unacceptable.

For those who like such games this may be a fun way to interact online, and they may find it natural, but I found it a very limiting and clumsy interface. I kept wondering why can't I have a plan view so I can simply click where I want to go? Why do these people have their names floating above the heads, that is not very realistic.

The blurry 3D graphics and spurious animation in the system made me feel queasy, but it was a lot easier to look at on my own screen than on the large screen in the NLA theater. Even so this seemed an uncomfortable way to interact with people and services online.

If Second Life become a long term success, then libraries and other organizations will need to have a presence there. However, they should ensure that the services they provide there are available with alternative interfaces for those who are unable or unwilling to use Second Life.

Work needs to be done on alternative more efficient interfaces for such systems. For those who ask "why is an alternative interface needed?" or "why bother building an interface for a few poor blind people?", consider the mobile market. In much of the Asian region the usual interface to online systems is not a desktop computer but a mobile phone. The interface for Second Life would need extensive changes for this environment.

Some books:

Bending Bike Broke Again: Hinge break on a folding bicycle

Broken hinge on Dahon folding bicycleThe steel hinge on my Dahon "Boardwalk 6", 6 speed 20" 2003 model folding bicycle broke. I was attempting to fold the bicycle and was having difficulty, so I pushed a bit harder and the bolt broke in half.

In retrospect I realize should have stopped when I was meeting resistance and adjusted the bolt, as per the instruction manual.

I have put it into the local bicycle shop to see if they can fix it. They can probably make a replacement part fairly easily, but are first checking to see if the supplier has a replacement part.

This is the second breakage I have had with the bicycle. The frst was much more serious, when the frame broke in half while I was riding it. The frame was replaced under warranty and I was very happy with the result.

The bicycle has been across Australia and Europe on planes, trains and automobiles,with relatively few problems.

Second Life for Librarians

Australian Libraries Building in Second LifeKathryn Greenhill just finished her talk on Second Life, at the (real) National Library of Australia in Canberra. Second life is an online virtual world. Kathryn is a librarian at the (real) Murdoch University Library in Western Australia. She also co-ordinates the virtual "Australian Libraries Building" inside Second Life.

Kathryn gave an introduction to Second Life and an online tour of the Australian Libraries Building. The building is modeled on a real library, with interfaces to traditional online library resources, but done in a whimsical way.

One aspect which worried me is that Second Life is a for-profit company product. You can purchase an "island" to display your products and services. The Australian Libraries Building is on an island devoted to libraries around the world. While anyone can use second life for free, it costs real money to set up a building and it is effectively a virtual private gated community.

The interface for second life is a two dimensional rendering of a virtual 3d world. Each user of the system is represented by an Avatar; a graphical representation of the person. The avatar and the environment can be customized to look and behave differently, partly using purchased resources (using a local currency). The user interface is similar to that of a video game (but without the guns and violence, for the present).

All this made me feel old and alienated. Not being a computer games player I found the visual interface unnatural. I had difficult seeing the details and keeping up with the blurry, animated items. The overly rich visual design made me feel nauseous (much as a set of 3d goggles does after a couple of minutes use).

However, there was a great level of enthusiasm displayed by Kathryn and evidently a lot of effort being put in by other librarians. But will this translate into a mainstream product or be just for a few geeks?

At question time I asked if there was an alternative accessible interface for the blind. Kathryn didn't know and I was shocked that the audience of librarians laughed at the idea. I would have assumed that librarians would know they have a professional and legal obligation to provide services to the disabled. Not providing an interface for the blind, if is technically feasible and not too expensive, is unlawful. While Second Life may seem a virtual place, unlawful actions carried out there are within the jurisdiction of Australian courts (I had to do an expert witness report for an international online libel case a few days ago).
Correction 15 February 2007: Above I wrote that the audience of librarians laughed at my suggestion there should be an alternative accessible interface for the blind. Someone else there says they were laughing at were the antics of the avatars on the screen, behind the speaker, not at my question. My apologies to the audience if this was the case.
Another audience member asked a question about the bandwidth needed for the interface. Apparently the graphical interface required a lot of bandwidth. This would seem a fruitful area for IT research. It should be possible to optimize the the system to reduce the bandwidth needed and provide an interface for the blind at the same time. I might set it as an ANU e-Science project for the students to do.

This talk was one in the excellent NLA Digital Culture series. Unfortunately the NLA doesn't have a public web page about the series. But the next time they email me an invitation I will blog it.

When Everything is Digital

The white paper "Coping when everything is digital? Digital Documents and Issues in Document Retention" by Julian Gillespie, Patrick Fair, Adrian Lawrence and David Vaile (Cyberspace Law and Policy Center, UNSW 2004), provides a good introduction. It is addressed to legal departments, finance, records managers, IT, corporate executives and others in organisations. But it suffers from having been written by lawyers from a legal point of view and misses the point of having digital documents: making organisations more efficient.

The white papers asks if the organisation has a policy on retention and destruction of digital documents. But apart from government agencies, many organisations are unlikely to have a policy on paper records, let alone electronic ones. If the organisation has a policy for any sort of documents, that is a good first step.

The authors cite research from the USA claiming that most documents are now digital and 70% are never printed. Those dealing with increasing paper use in offices are probably wishing the figure was higher. ;-)

Australian and US court cases involving electronic documents are cited. The authors warn of the legal risks in deleting records which should have been retained and argue for a methodological approach. They give examples of digital documents: imaged versions of paper documents, word processing files, spreadsheets, presentations, email, databases, logs of networks and web access, financial transaction records and web pages.

While giving a good overview of the issues, the authors failed to give the obvious solution until near the end of the paper (on page 41 of 55): implement the relevant standards and guidelines. Also there does not appear to be any mention of the guidelines applying to state and federal government agencies. Perhaps the authors feel that if they mentioned the standards at the beginning, the reader would wonder why a 55 page white paper was required at all (as do I).

The authors introduce the concept of "meta data" by using the example of electronic mail messages. This is a good approach as, unlike other electronic documents, the metadata for email messages is usually visible in the header. The authors point out where to find dates, times and addresses in message headers. Curiously the don't point out the subject, which is an important metadata item. Instead they emphasize the spam warning inserted in the header by spam detection software and discuss "suspicious" email. While this is an important topic it is not relevant to document retention. Similarly the disclaimers inserted in messages are mentioned and makes the valid, but irrelevant, point that these disclaimers are untested in Australian law.

The authors discuss backups and archives of digital documents. As I discovered when helping write Commonwealth government guidelines on electronic documents, IT people use the term "archive" and "backup" interchangeably. Records managers and archivists use "archive" in a different sense. The authors here characterize backups as being to guard against disk failure and archives as being for perpetuity . But then they go on to say that archives are likely to be available for months or years, which a long way from "perpetuity" and falls within what might be considered a backup. The distinction between backups and archives is not a useful one and the authors should have avoided the issue.

The more important point, only made in a couple of sentences, is that an old file may not be readable due to the software which created it being no longer available. The authors mention PDF-A (a version of PDF intended for archives) and XML. This is an important point needing more analysis. Recent progress on XML based standards and on their adoption by the National Archives of Australia shows promise for long term access.

The authors go on to detail obligations for keeping documents. Unfortunately this is from a legalistic point of view. The emphasis is on what you have to keep when there is litigation. This gives a very skewed view of why an organisation would keep documents. Organisations should be keeping documents in order to support their operations. Document keeping should be within what the law requires and allows, but that should not be the primary reason.

The paper ends by discussing document management systems. Unfortunately these standards are not widely used, outside large companies and government. Even in organisations with such systems, many of the day-to-day documents are outside the system in email, word processors and the like.

The current approach to electronic document management is not working, and while well meaning "Coping when everything is digital? Digital Documents and Issues in Document Retention" does not really help. It says things we already knew and probably is only be read by people who already knew.

After some years discussing this issue, and having helped write well intentioned, earnest documents on the need for e-document management (which were completely ignored), I believe a different approach is required. As an IT professional when faced with a problem of people not doing what is needed, I try to automate the problem out of existence; that approach is needed for e-document management.

With a related issue, accessible web design for the disabled, for some years I attempted to interest executives and organisations. Like document management there are clear guidelines and laws requiring its use and organisations have even been fined for non-compliance. But most people are just not interested. Instead I decided to train the people who write the web software to implement the standards. That way the standards would be build into the web systems. People using the web tools would be complying with the guidelines without knowing it. This has proved much more successful.

The same approach can be applied to digital document management. Those designing document systems can be trained to build the needed management systems into the software.

Previously this would have been difficult to do as most of the document creation would have been with large monolithic packages with their own binary proprietary formats and primitive document management systems (such as Microsoft Office). However, web based systems are being increasingly used. These systems are easier to modify, to integrate with records management systems, are more likely to use standards and can be easily deployed across an organisation.

Also packages using standard formats, such as OpenOffice.Org are available to use in place of Microsoft Office, or to use to convert Microsoft Office files to standard formats. Microsoft are also, at last, is making efforts to comply with document standards.

As a result there may be less need to explain electronic document management to lawyers and executives. It will be built into the software and those using it will be prompted for their record management policies so the software can implement them. If the needed software is available free as open source, it will be difficult for any executive to argue against its use.

This may sound unlikely, but it has already been successfully implemented in at least one area: academic electronic publishing. The OJS system implements XML based metadata standards allow easy export of document records and backup of publications. The software is free open source and can be downloaded and installed. During configuration the user is asked if they want metadata to be exported and if they want the publications available in a stand archive format. The user just has to click a few buttons fort this to happen. I did this for the ACS Digital Library and the papers in the library are now available world wide, including in the Arrow Discovery Service.

Obviously, keeping internal organisation documents in a secure archive will be more difficult that open access academic papers intended for unlimited distribution. But the same concepts can be applied. Standard formats and interfaces can be implemented in the tools used.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Wireless at the State Library of Victoria

Greetings from the reading room of the State Library of Victoria, in Melbourne. Like the National Library of Australia the SLV provides free wireless access for registered readers.

Signing up at SLV was even quicker than at the NLA: I showed identification and had a reader card about 30 seconds later (there is a 15 minute delay while the wireless access is authorized). This contrasts to about an hour to register with complex forms and an interview at the British Library (the facilities of the BL were far inferior to the NLA).

While at the SLV have a look at the La Trobe Reading Room, under the library's main dome. This has been subtly restored with what look like old fashioned desks with inkwells, but actually have power for laptops.

Wile in the Library you can read three publications with my name on them:

Monday, February 12, 2007

ICT Professional Developemt

Greetings from the Australian Computer Society Professional Development meeting in Melbourne.

We are discussing:
One interesting aspect is the way structured assessable online discussion is used as part of the CPEP. This takes place using a web based discussion forum in Moodle. Other experiments have been less successful, such as having the students contribute to a wiki of terminology.

Another issue is that traditional scholarly research material is a bit dry and dull for the average ICT professional. Also there is a lot of readable material available online, but course designers and students need to learn to be selective.

Any thoughts?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wireless at the Library

Greetings from the reading room of the National Library of Australia in Canberra. The Library provides free wireless access for registered readers. This takes some of the pressure off the limited number of workstations provided.

I signed up some time ago but because my previous laptop had a plug in wireless card (which I kept forgetting to plug in), I hardly ever used it. My new Twinhead 12D has wireless built in, so I decided to use it. Also my old computer had a noisy fan, which made it hard to use in a library. The keyboard on the new Twinhead is still not silent and I have to be careful not to type too fast as I make too much noise.

But why would you want to use a computer and Internet in a library? It makes it much easier to take notes when reading. I have been in the habit or reading something then going to a public terminal to look it up on the web and email myself the reference. With a working computer I can make notes as I go along.

Something else which will speed things up is spelling correction. I noticed that misspent words were being underlined in red as I typed them into the Blog software. I am not sure what is doing this. It seems to work in any web field I type into, so I think it is a function of the Mozilla Firefox browser, rather than the Blogger blog software. Whatever it is it is greatly speeding up my writing.

As well as using the wireless at the library I plan to use it at meetings. I have activated the wireless on my home router. This is connected to a iBurst wireless modem. I can plug the two units into a power point and the iBurst will receive data from the Internet and relay it locally via the WiFi. This is not quite as goos as having an iBust card in the laptop, but better than having to plug an Ethernet cable in.

When I bought my desktop iBurst modem these were cheaper than the PC Card units and the monthly access charge was lower for a desktop unit than a laptop one. The prices have changed so now the desktop unit costs more and there is no extra charge for mobile use.

Prize for Solving Global Warming

Solar updraft tower - artists impressionSir Richard Branson, head of the Virgin Group and Al Gore, (author of "An Inconvenient Truth"), announced the Virgin Earth Challenge on 9 February 2007. This is a competition for ideas to remove carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to reverse global warming:
The Virgin Earth Challenge is a prize of $25m for whoever can demonstrate to the judges' satisfaction a commercially viable design which results in the removal of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases so as to contribute materially to the stability of Earth's climate.

From: Virgin Earth Challenge, 2007
There are detailed guidelines (excerpt below), which include the entrants agreeing to let Virgin use their work for promoting the company. The competition doesn't close until 8 February 2010. The judges can share out the prize between multiple entries. The winner(s) get 20% of the prize straight away, but for the other 80%, they have to show their design working over 10 years.

The guidelines refer to "engineering or the other physical technologies", so it is not clear if biological or social systems could be used. For example a new form of living plant could be produced which took up more CO2, or a social movement could encourage people to plant trees. It would be unfortunate if only highly technical (and expensive) methods were allowed. It may be much cheaper to breed a plant, rather than genetically engineer one, or to have a web based social movement to encourage people to plant trees, rather than have a complex machine to do it.

No doubt there will plenty of weird ideas. So here is mine:
Solar updraft tower - diagram
The Solar Tower Greenhouse

The Australian government has funded some research on a updraft solar tower. The tower works by solar heated air powering a turbine to generate electricity. A
production unit would to be 1 km high, surrounded by a solar absorber 5.6 km in diameter.

The solar collector on a Solar Tower is usually described as a "greenhouse", so I propose modifying the design to be an actual greenhouse, with 25 square km of living plants to convert CO2 into O2. The Oxygen would then be injected 1km into the atmosphere by the tower, while still generating power.

The greenhouse could be made of plastic bubbles, similar to the Eden Project. The tower could be a self supporting tethered balloon, rather than a rigid structure. The tower could be inflated like a balloon, rather than constructed like a tower, and could be deflated for maintenance.

Eden Project

Water and nutrients for the plants could be provided from sewage. A fossil fuel burning power plant could be co-located to inject CO2 into the greenhouse, accelerating plant growth and allowing sequestration of the carbon. Carbon capture and storage is usually thought of as something done with a mechanical or chemical process at a coal burning power plant, but using a plant to do it makes the process solar powered.

Plants absorb about 0.01 k of CO2 per day per m2, or 10,000 kg per square km per day. So one solar tower would absorb 250,000 kg a day of CO2.

Virgin doesn't seem to want to save on energy or resources with the competition process. Entrants are required to submit their entries on paper, with an entry form. Online submission would save on paper and transport, but is not permitted, under the rules:
Virgin Earth Challenge Guidelines

1. Purpose and overview
The purpose of the Virgin Earth Challenge is to encourage the development of commercially viable new technology, processes and methods to remove anthropogenic greenhouse gases from the atmosphere to improve the stability of the Earth's climate.

Entrants must submit a commercially viable design (the "Design") to achieve the net removal of significant volumes of anthropogenic, atmospheric greenhouse gases each year for at least 10 years without countervailing harmful effects (the "Removal Target"). The removal achieved by the Design must have long term benefits (measured over say 1,000 years) and must contribute materially to the stability of the Earth's climate.

The prize fund will be awarded to (or shared amongst) any entrants whose Design (in the opinion of the judges) achieves or appears capable of achieving the Removal Target and other criteria set out in paragraph 7 and which in the opinion of the judges makes an outstanding contribution by way of innovation in the fields of engineering or the other physical technologies or in the application of the physical sciences, which is or will be for the benefit of the Earth's climate.

Virgin invites all interested individuals or teams to complete an Entry Form to register to participate in the Virgin Earth Challenge. ...

2. Guidelines and Participation Agreement

These Guidelines (and the Participation Agreement (see below)) form the basis of the rules that will govern the Virgin Earth Challenge. However, the Virgin Earth Challenge will be subject to more detailed rules, terms and conditions. The full rules, terms and conditions will be adopted within 60 days following the official launch of the Virgin Earth Challenge on 9 February 2007. Such full rules, terms and conditions will constitute a Participation Agreement to be signed by all registered entrants who wish to compete in the Virgin Earth Challenge.

3. Publicity

3.1 Virgin reserves the right to publish details of the entrants and/or winners of a cash award ("Winners") and any Design(s) on the website and in other promotional and publicity material as it considers appropriate, including (without limitation) for the purpose of promoting the Virgin group. By entering, entrants agree that they will be willing and available to participate in publicity and promotional activities and events and/or press conferences and that Virgin shall be entitled to use entrants' names, photographs, country of residence (but not full address) and other relevant information in publicity throughout all media free of charge.

3.2 Entrants shall not take part (or agree to take part) in any media coverage, or make any press releases or other announcements regarding participation in the Virgin Earth Challenge without the prior agreement of Virgin. No entrant shall refer to the Virgin Earth Challenge or permit it to be referred to by any third party for the purpose of promoting or publicising any company or business other than Virgin.

3.3 Any entrant which goes on to implement or exploit any Design submitted to the Virgin Earth Challenge shall reference the Virgin Earth Challenge (in a form to be agreed with Virgin) in all relevant materials produced in connection with the implementation and/or exploitation of such Design.

4. How to enter the Virgin Earth Challenge

4.1 In order to register to enter the Virgin Earth Challenge, each entrant must submit a completed copy of the Entry Form (signed by all members of the team) to:

Virgin Earth Challenge
120 Campden Hill Road
London W8 7AR
United Kingdom

4.2 An entrant can submit an Entry Form registering to enter the Virgin Earth Challenge at any time during the currency of the competition (see clause 9 below).

4.3 Entrants who have submitted an Entry Form will receive a Participation Agreement which is to be signed by all registered entrants who wish to compete in the Virgin Earth Challenge. Only entrants who have submitted a duly completed Entry Form will be entitled to enter into a Participation Agreement (when it is available) and to compete in the Virgin Earth Challenge. Registration for the Virgin Earth Challenge is not complete until receipt of a signed Participation Agreement and any entrant who does not sign the Participation Agreement will not be eligible to compete in the Virgin Earth Challenge.

5. Submission of a Design

5.1 Only Designs received from registered entrants who have signed a Participation Agreement will be considered for entry into the Virgin Earth Challenge.

5.2 Entrants must submit each Design entry in writing by post or by hand to:

Virgin Earth Challenge
120 Campden Hill Road
London W8 7AR
United Kingdom

5.3 The Virgin Earth Challenge is free to enter but each entrant shall bear the costs if any of researching, preparing and submitting his/her Design(s).

5.4 The number of Design entries per entrant is not limited.

5.5 The Design submission should be sufficiently detailed and clear to enable the judges to analyse properly and to form a view on all elements of the Design including the method and any possible side effects of exploitation of the Design.

5.6 By entering the Virgin Earth Challenge, each entrant agrees to be bound by these Guidelines and the Participation Agreement (once signed).

6. Entries

6.1 Entries will not be returned.

6.2 By entering, each entrant confirms that the submitted Design is original, is the entrant's own work, is not in breach of any obligation of confidence, is not in violation of any applicable laws, does not infringe any other third party rights of whatever nature and that the entrant has all rights and permissions necessary to submit the Design to the Virgin Earth Challenge and to exploit (or grant rights to exploit) the Design anywhere in the World. Each entrant hereby indemnifies Virgin and the judges against any and all loss, damages or liability which they might incur by reason of any breach or alleged breach of this paragraph or these Guidelines.

6.3 Entrants shall be solely responsible to ensure that they take appropriate steps to protect the intellectual property rights in their Design whether by way of applying for patent, design or other registered intellectual property right protection or otherwise.

7. Criteria

7.1 Entries will be judged according to the following criteria:

(a) ability of the Design to achieve the Removal Target;
(b) technical viability;
(c) commercial viability;
(d) effectiveness and efficiency;
(e) scalability;
(f) harmful effects and/or other incidental consequences of the solution;
(g) other contributions to the reduction in environmental greenhouse gases;
(h) longevity of effects; and
(i) any other criteria which the judges decide in their discretion are relevant.

7.2 Entrants may be required to provide further information to assist the judges in assessing the Design and each entrant agrees to fully co-operate with the judges. Information which is not in the public domain and is marked by the entrant as confidential shall be treated as confidential by Virgin and the judges.

7.3 Any cash awards ("Awards") will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. The decision of the judges shall be final and no correspondence will be entered into.

8. Judges

8.1 Judging of all submitted Designs will be conducted by a panel of judges comprising Sir Richard Branson, Sir Crispin Tickell, Al Gore, James Lovelock, Jim Hansen and Tim Flannery (provided that if any judge shall be unable to judge the entries, such judge(s) may be replaced by an alternate judge(s) selected by agreement of the remaining judges).

8.2 The judges reserve the right to take external advice and guidance from The Climate Group and/or such other experts as they consider appropriate.

8.3 No judge shall (a) have personal or financial interests in, or be an employee, officer, director, or agent of any entity that is a registered participant in the Virgin Earth Challenge (or sponsor or financier of any such participant); or (b) have a familial or financial relationship with an individual who is a registered participant or participant sponsor.

9. Challenge duration

9.1 The Virgin Earth Challenge will open on 9 February 2007 (the "Opening Date").

9.2 The Virgin Earth Challenge shall be open for an initial period of 3 years from the Opening Date and the deadline for submissions shall be 8 February 2010 (the "Closing Date").

9.3 Within 180 days after the Closing Date, the judges shall judge the entries submitted by the Closing Date.

9.4 If the judges consider that the criteria have been met and that one or more entries should win some or all of the prize pool, Awards will be awarded and the Winners will be announced by Virgin in accordance with these Guidelines.

9.5 If some or all of the prize pool has not been awarded following judging of the submissions, the Virgin Earth Challenge shall re-open for a further period and the "Closing Date" shall be extended accordingly to 8 February 2011. The judges shall repeat the judging process in accordance with paragraphs 9.3 and 9.4.

9.6 If some or all of the prize pool has not been awarded following judging of the submissions as set out in paragraph 9.5, the Virgin Earth Challenge shall re-open for a further period and the "Closing Date" shall be extended accordingly to 8 February 2012.

9.7 The Virgin Earth Challenge will close on the earlier of either (i) all of the prize pool fund being awarded; or (ii) the expiry of 5 years from the Opening Date (unless Virgin decides in its sole discretion to roll any remaining prize pool forward and leave the Virgin Earth Challenge open for a further period to be determined by Virgin in its sole and absolute discretion).

9.8 Entries submitted after any Closing Date shall not be considered unless some or all of the prize pool fund has not been won and the Virgin Earth Challenge is re-opened as set out in these Guidelines (and in any event whether such submissions shall be considered shall be in the absolute discretion of the judges).

10. The Award

10.1 The total prize pool is US$25million.

10.2 The judges may elect to award the entire prize pool funds to one Winner or to share the prize pool funds (as the judges think fit) between two or more Winners totalling US$25million in aggregate. The judges shall not be obliged to award all or any of the total prize pool funds if in the judges' absolute discretion the criteria and Removal Target are not met.

10.3 The Winner(s) will receive 20% of his/her Award upon the judges' decision to make the Award in respect of his/her Design (a "Winning Design"). The Winner(s) will receive the remaining 80% of his/her Award upon satisfactory achievement by his/her Design of the Removal Target for at least 10 consecutive years and provided all other criteria continue to be met at that time. (The intervening period between such payments shall be the "Post-Award Period".) Accordingly, if there is a single Winner of the total prize pool fund that Winner would receive US$5 million upon the judges' decision to make the Award and the remaining US$20 million following achievement of the Removal Target and other criteria for 10 years.

10.4 Winners shall provide to Virgin from time to time upon request during the Post-Award Period all information which may be requested by it in relation to any Winning Design (and any subsequent improvements, variations or developments of such Winning Design). ...

11.2 Details of Winners will be published on ...

13.1 The promoter of the Virgin Earth Challenge shall be the Virgin company specified as such in the Participation Agreement ("Virgin"). ...

From: Virgin Earth Challenge Guidelines, Virgin, 2007